My Neighbor Totoro - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

My Neighbor Totoro Reviews

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May 22, 2019
Brings good memories and feelings from our childhood.
May 6, 2019
Movies stick with us for different reasons. Some make us cry and we feel the intense drama. Some make us laugh so hard until it hurts. Some movies can do both of them and one of those is My Neighbor Totoro. A legendary film from the great Hiro Miyazaki. When I do my list of top one hundred favorite movies of all-time, this one will be way up there.


Meet Satsuki, she is a rambunctious child who lives with her father while her mother recuperates in the hospital. Mei is her younger sister who is such a sweetheart. She has so much energy and cuteness that shines through. They live near a kind lady who they name granny. The voice acting is impeccable. No one over does it and every line is delivered with perfect pitch and timing. The characters are like the ones you usually see in a Miyazaki movie, the understanding dad, the wonderful mom, and the relatable and cute kids. Does this take away from the characters? Nope, they are so real and likable, you don't even notice. They are normal people who we can relate to, and see the world through Satsuki and Mei's eyes is quite an experience. Totoro and his companions are great. They have personality and great design. You will never forget the cat bus. Yes, you heard me, a kitty cat bus! It's sooo cute you'll wish there really was a kitty cat bus! Oh the horror! Make it real!


The story is simple and it works. A father and his two kids move out to a small home, so they can visit their mom (his wife), more often. Mei goes into the woods and she finds a creature named Totoro. She tries to convince her sister and father that she found him, but he doesn't appear. Is this all in Mei's head? The story does deepen when mom gets sick. Satsuki and Mei try to find a way to see her see if she is ok. This is so relatable to any child. Who wouldn't want to rush to the hospital to see their mom if she was supposed to go home, but gets sick? Mei and Satsuki also try to find out what is Totoro's deal. Is he a friend? Watch and see.


As usual, Miyazaki does his typical perfect job directing the animation with vibrant colors, wonderful character design, and a smart screenplay. I love how Miyazaki makes his characters look like regular people, instead of the typical anime tropes. It makes their situations more relatable. There are quiet moments in this movie that are spectacular. Miyazaki respects the audience's intelligence. He knows we can handle quiet moments and lets us fill in the blanks on what's going on. Audiences don't need zooming cameras and in your face loudness in order to compel us. Give us a good story and characters we can relate to, and we can have the patience to watch any movie.


The screenplay maybe my favorite part of this movie. When Mei tells her dad and Satsuki that she saw Totoro, we could've gotten the same, "Sure you did, you are nuts." tropes we've seen a thousand times. Instead, we get a caring father and sister who really want this to be real for Mei. That is such a breath of fresh air to see in a family movie. The story has enough depth, but doesn't bog down the story will too much plot. Instead, the screenplay focuses on the journey for Satsuki and Mei. This is perfect! It keeps it simple and relatable without drowning out the spirit of what makes this movie so good. It is pure magic. Simple, sweet and gentle. This is one of the best screenplays for any movie, I've ever seen. Miyazaki wrote this masterwork of a screenplay and should've gotten an Oscar nomination for it.


I can't really name any to be honest. Maybe the running time, which is eighty-seven minutes long. I would have loved if this movie had been four hours long! Maybe, that's the sign of a great movie. It leaves you wanting more! This is a near perfect movie that delights with sights, sounds, heartfelt moments and hearty laughs.

Final Thoughts

My Neighbor Totoro has become a huge cult hit and it is easy to see why. The gorgeous visuals, adorable characters, charming story and sweet tone will make this a family favorite for decades to come. Ninety-nine percent of big Hollywood animated movies pale in comparison to this movie. If you are looking for adorable, and wholesome family entertainment that is also a great movie. Look no further than My Neighbor Totoro, one of the best movies, (not just animated, but movies period), ever made.

My Score: 4 stars. One of the best animated, no, movies PERIOD, of all time. A charming classic that you will love and watch many times without the magic wearing off.
½ May 4, 2019
A charming movie, quite slow-paced in comparison to the other Miyazaki movies
May 4, 2019
I can't describe how delighted am I after I've just finished watching this movie. This is the best movie that captured the childhood very accurately. The children characters behave so realistically that I couldn't believe my eyes while watching them play, cry, laugh, or doing anything. I didn't felt like I was watching a child in front of me, but I felt like I was watching my younger self; I felt like I was watching myself as a child, or as if my childhood memories were being displayed before me. Even if I haven't done that particular thing the characters do, I somehow felt that my younger self would do the exact thing. If that means anything, it's that Hayao Miyazaki has captured The essence of childhood like now one did.

But the greatest thing about My Neighbor Totoro isn't how realistic it feels, but it's the fabulous message it delivers, and the thing that is more fascinating is the way it delivers this message. I really shouldn't spoil anything about this gorgeous film, but it delivers a message about facing the fear; the fear of everything, and the fear in all its kinds and levels. Miyazaki merged this message with the story in a gleefully brilliant way.

I shouldn't call it delivering the message, though. Instead, I should call it merging or combining the message with the story, or rather I should say that Miyazaki created an entire story from a message! It's really amazing that this film has no real plot!

Hayao Miyazaki proved that it's not even necessary for a movie to have an antagonist, or at least not a common one, as I mentioned above, the story itself is about a message about facing the fear. And I didn't feel at any time throughout the movie that I need an antagonist or a usual problem to be invested in the movie. I was engaged and hooked from the very beginning of the movie till the end credits scene, which is very cool, by the way.

The thing is that at the third act the movie changed completely in terms of the plot; it turned from a plot-free movie to a movie that has a real plot and a very serious problem. The plot and its problem didn't come from nowhere; they are attached very well to the story from its beginning, and it's been appeared later that the plot is kinda share the same message of the story, but the problem is that the movie changed a great deal when it moved from its second to the third act. I felt as the movie betrayed itself after promising, and spectacularly managing to keep the audience on the edge of their seat with a story devoid from typical plot issues and obstacles. Yes, I've been engaged again and invested in the story with its plot because I cared about every single character, but it took me a little time, and I really felt a bit uncomfortable and annoyed with this inconsistency.

Overall, I can say that My Neighbor Totoro is an imaginative tale that every parent should enjoy it with his/her child. Because I think that the moral of the story is actually as, if not more important to parents.

I personally prefer My Neighbor Totoro to Spirited Away, but if I'm going to be honest with myself, Spirited Away is the better film; just slightly better. Looking forward to see more works from this genius filmmaker.

April 28, 2019
The start of Studio Ghibli is as heart-warming as it is adorable.
½ April 23, 2019
The last 20 minutes were great, but there was another 60 minutes to watch to get to it. My Neighbor Totoro is an anime that lags in the beginning and middle; but who's ending is extremely engaging. However, its still a good movie. The animation was great, the characters were good, and the score matches it tone. But that tone was too tender to stomach, the environment was doubtful and best, the screenplay was fragile, and there was no real plot to drive the picture. Overall solid, but not amazing.
April 14, 2019
Visually enchanting with the most ambient music. The songs are otherworldly, creating a safe haven. My Neighbour Totoro gives you a passageway out of reality.
April 7, 2019
My Neighbor Totoro lives up to its cult classic status, with a heartwarming story and beautiful animation.
January 13, 2019
When is Netflix going to have this movie?
½ December 24, 2018
Really beautiful and special.
November 26, 2018
A great anime for all ages and generations
October 15, 2018
A timeless film that will be a classic forever. This movie is a family classic that can be watched at anytime. Highly recommend anyone who hasn't seen this classic!
½ August 20, 2018
With Studio Ghibli season on Film4 in full swing we continue to enjoy these offerings as a family. This is a bizarre treat, one part family drama (move to a new house, Mother in hospital) and one part bizarre, trippy fantasy. I keep watching these films thinking there's no way my children will want to follow and enjoy the complicated plotting and yet, as with me they both love them. Again even my 2 year old was engrossed and engaged throughout and we've all been talking of 'Totoro' just as we did 'Arrietty' and 'Ponyo'. These truly are the classic family films of our era (even if this one was 1988!), I really recommend dipping your toe in the water.
August 17, 2018
greatest movie along with fairytail dragon cry
August 16, 2018
An absolutely beautiful slice of life anime movie. Very family friendly and one of Studio Ghibli's best films
August 10, 2018
Charming, breathtaking, funny, and cute. The story is so magical and truly transports you into the world of Totoro.
½ June 14, 2018
I was really skeptical when I first started watching because the pace of the movie was so slow going in, but by the end I was in love with the story. It can be a little bit weird at times, but it has to be one of the most charming animated movies I've ever seen.

There's a really strong heart at the core of this movie that just reminds you how it was to be a little kid, since most adults just can't remember anything after they were six years old
½ May 24, 2018
If a bit long at first, My neighbor Totoro's charming character moments more than makes up for its early flaws.
May 9, 2018
this is one of the best movies I have ever seen! I cannot recommend this cinematic masterpiece more!
May 3, 2018
While it will require some research into Japanese customs to get, even on a family level, this is hands-down one of the most adorable films you will ever see, plus it has many fun moments that are found in Miyazaki's later works (such as the bus stop scene later making a brief similar appearance in Spirited Away).
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