[tps_title]10. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2002)[/tps_title]
Miyazaki’s films are not only about children, but they are often perfect for children, a magical combination that is at its most potent in this 2002 spellbinder. Yes, it is animated, but its tale of the trials and tribulations involved in growing up – rendered, fantastically, in Miyazaki’s trademark hand drawn animation – is as astute a depiction of childhood as any other. Chihiro is our guide into a world of spirits variously malicious and benevolent, ghastly and majestic. We tag alongside her as she works through this surreal fever dream, gradually building confidence, courage, and rectitude in a series of mounting challenges. Her liminal journey, a metaphorical transition between childhood precociousness and adult responsibility, is handled by Miyazaki with great compassion and clarity. He realizes that sometimes the best way to translate the adventure of growing up is to make it into an adventure.
See also: The Red Balloon (1956), My Neighbor Totoro (1988), Persepolis (2007)