[[quoteright:300:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/when_marnie_was_there.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Anna and Marnie]]

''When Marnie Was There'', (in Japanese ''Omoide no Marnie'' or "Marnie of My Memories") is the 22nd anime film produced by Creator/StudioGhibli. It was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and written by him in collaboration Keiko Niwa and Masashi Ando, and based on the classic 1967 children's [[FilmOfTheBook novel]] ''When Marnie Was There'' by Joan G. Robinson.

The film (and novel) tell the story of Anna, an introverted, alienated and [[IllGirl severely asthmatic]] twelve-year-old girl from Sapporo, who only finds solace in her talent for drawing. To aid her health, Anna's parents send her to stay with relatives living in a rural seaside part of Japan (Norfolk, England in the book), where Anna soon becomes fascinated by a large Western-style manor looming near the marsh next to the village she stays in. The first time she goes there she finds it abandoned and run-down, but on her second visit the house is suddenly full of life and light. More importantly, it appears to be home to a blonde girl named Marnie, who looks exactly like the girl Anna had been seeing in her dreams.

The girls feel an immediate connection, which grows ever deeper each time they meet. Still, Marnie and the manor she is living in remain a mystery. Why does the place look abandoned when Marnie is not around? What is Marnie's true identity? And what are her ties to Anna?

In typical Creator/StudioGhibli style, with [[SceneryPorn gorgeous animation]] and music, the movie gradually unfolds the meaning of Anna and Marnie's encounters, with Anna meeting several other important people along the way who all help her on her [[ComingOfAgeStory journey to find herself]].

The film was nominated for the UsefulNotes/AcademyAwardForBestAnimatedFeature in 2016. It became the fifth Studio Ghibli film to achieve such an honor. However, this film and ''Anime/TheTaleOfThePrincessKaguya'' became a temporary CreatorKiller for Studio Ghibli until ''WesternAnimation/TheRedTurtle'' in 2016 and it was Yonebayashi and producer Yoshiaki Nishimura's SwanSong for Ghibli.
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!!This film provides examples of:

* AdaptationalHeroism: In the book, Sandra is pretty rude to Anna, even taking into account Anna's introverted behavior, and the two never become friends. Nobuko, the movie version, is perfectly friendly towards Anna when she joins her at a festival. While she does upset Anna by pointing out her unusual blue eyes, it's more InnocentlyInsensitive than actual malice. (She does so because she genuinely thinks they're cool and pretty.) When Sandra gives an angry retort to Anna's outburst, she follows up with the suggestion that they put the whole thing behind them and enjoy the evening. By the end of the film, Anna has apologized for her behavior and Nobuko asks her to join in on trash clean-up next summer.
* AdultFear:
** Having an IllGirl who always seems to collapse at any time as a foster kid, who in turn is worried about costing you money with doctor visits. Setsuko recounts that Yoriko would call her everyday to ask for advice on how to raise Anna.
** Anna is found multiple times lying unconscious on the ground while in the countryside. Setsuko doesn't think twice about it.
** Thinking that even though your foster parents are sweet, that [[spoiler:they get a subsidy to take care of you and may be OnlyInItForTheMoney]] which makes your relationship complicated because of abandonment issues
** Suffering [[spoiler:a nervous breakdown due to your husband dying, which ruins ties with your daughter. Then just as you get a second chance with your granddaughter, to raise her, you die and leave her in foster care.]] Marnie is in tears when she has to tell Anna [[spoiler:that she's sorry for leaving her, and that she can't stay longer.]]
--> '''Marnie''': So please, Anna, I need you to forgive me.
* AdvertisedExtra: In the english dub, Kathy Bates has a ''tiny'' role as the mean girl's mother. That didn't stop her name being put all over the advertising.
* AffectionateNickname: Sayaka's brother calls her "Sherlock" in the English dub.
* AlcoholHic: Anna gets one after accidentally drinking wine, and gets drowsy.
* AmbiguousDisorder: Anna is frequently noted to act oddly for a child or focus on strange things. As the book begins, she book acts detached from other people, enjoys spending time alone, has little time for the family she lives with, and sends postcards to her guardian that are only a few sentences long. She views the world as being a circle with people on the "inside" and on the "outside", believing herself to be on the outside and separate from everyone else. At one point, she goes into a fury over an insult which everyone, even the narrator, considers to be silly. She also doesn't seem to have many friends, but the people she does meet and bond with (Marnie [[spoiler:and, later, the family that moves into her house]]) she's able to form very close ties to. Some of her behavior can be attributed to her [[spoiler:fearing that her foster mother is only keeping her for the money]], but her reaction to that still comes across as unusual for an upset child.
* AmbiguouslyGay: Anna develops a close and intimate friendship with the titular Marnie. They go on a OldFashionedRowboatDate, cute dancing together, and declaring their love for each other. She also gets upset when Marnie shows interest in a boy. The last minute reveal that [[spoiler:Marnie is Anna's DeadAllAlong ''grandmother'' as a child]] really [[RelationshipWritingFumble muddles up]] the story's intentions.
* {{Arcadia}}: Anna is sent to the countryside to improve [[IllGirl her health]]. She (and the audience) are treated to some [[SceneryPorn beautiful shots of rural Japan]].
* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: "[[TearJerker I love you, Marnie! And I won't ever forget you!]]"
* BaitAndSwitchLesbians: The beginning of the movie is virtually ''dripping'' with romantic tension between the two main characters, which led many viewers to believe that this would lead to a payoff by the end. [[spoiler: Marnie is Anna's grandmother. As girl she had feelings for Kazuhiko, a boy whom she later marries. Marnie was effectively viewing Anna as a stand-in for Kazuhiko all along.]]
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:Anna comes to terms with her her abandonment issues and learns to appreciate her adoptive family but only at the price of learning the tragedies that consumed her biological family. She finally appreciates what she has because it represents everything her parents and grandparents lost.]]
* BlushSticker: Anna often gets them.
* BreakTheCutie: Happens to [[spoiler:Marnie prior to the film. She was a sweet girl growing up whose parents were never around and who was left supervised by abusive staff. When she grew up she married her [[ChildhoodFriendRomance childhood sweetheart]] but he ended up dying when their daughter was young. Marnie broke down so badly she was sent to an asylum for several years, which ruined her relationship with her daughter as she felt she had been [[ParentalAbandonment abandoned]]. They never mended that bond however after her daughter's [[OutlivingOnesOffspring death]] she took in her young granddaughter Anna before dying herself. She was a DotingGrandparent but everything caused her to 'come back' as a ghost child and befriend Anna, while she visited the countryside.]]
* ButNowIMustGo: At the climax, [[spoiler:Marnie has to say goodbye to Anna, and asks that the latter forgive her.]]
* CatchYourDeathOfCold: Sayaka when remembering Anna is in the rain worries that she'll get pneumonia.
* ChekhovsGunman: The elderly woman, Hisako, who Anna notices painting by the shore. [[spoiler:She is Marnie's childhood friend, and provides Anna and Sayaka with the first half of the truth about Marnie's identity.]]
* ChildhoodFriendRomance: [[spoiler: Forms part of the backstory when Marnie marries her childhood friend Kazuhiko.]]
* ComingOfAgeStory: Anna matures a lot throughout her adventures with Marnie.
* ConvenientlyInterruptedDocument: [[spoiler:Marnie's diary has the pages about her silo adventure ripped out so that it wouldn't tell Anna (and the audience) what's gonna happen next. Sayaka finds the missing pages afterwards.]]
* CoolBigBro: Sayaka's brother takes her out into the rain to find Anna and then runs for help when they find a feverish, soaked Anna.
* CooldownHug: Anna offers Marnie one on hearing her story after Marnie's sandcastle gets destroyed.
* CreepyHousekeeper: Marnie's housekeeper. Anna gets a taste of her too.
* CryCute:
** Marnie while in the silo with Anna because she's terrified.
** Anna and Sayaka when [[spoiler:Hisako tells them Marnie's story]].
** Yoriko when she [[spoiler:confesses to Anna about the subsidies.]]
* DaydreamSurprise: After supper, the scene cuts to Anna walking through the marsh to the mansion and seeing Marnie for the first time. Then the scene cuts to Anna in her bed, suggesting that the whole sequence was a dream.
* DeadAllAlong: [[spoiler:Marnie. She is Anna's grandmother as a child and died prior to the film.]]
* DefinitelyJustACold: Anna passes out several times over the course of the story but refuses to acknowledge she has a problem.
* {{Determinator}}
* DotingGrandparent: [[spoiler:Marnie]] died when her granddaughter was very young but was a caring grandmother for the time they spent together. She had an estranged relationship with her own daughter due to her daughter believing she [[ParentalAbandonment abandoned]] her. [[spoiler:Marnie's love Anna is a focus of the film, though Marnie is presented as Anna's age until TheReveal at the end that she's Anna's grandmother. Due to a RelationshipWritingFumble their affections come off as romantic more than familial, which has [[IncestSubtext awkward implications]].]]
* DramaticThunder: Twice at the silo. First a powerful thunder [[PaperTiger prevents the two maids to go through with their plan]] to [[BreakTheCutie force Marnie to enter the detested silo]] as a prank. Later a dramatic thunder scares Marnie big time when inside the silo with Anna.
* EpiphanyTherapy: The encounter with Marnie helps Anna to overcome her deep-seated [[ParentalAbandonment abandonment issues]].
* EveryoneHasStandards: Anna and Sayaka are horrified when they learn that Marnie's governess and maids abuse her.
* FaceYourFears: Anna does this with Marnie when urging her to enter the silo and overcome her fear of this place.
* TheFerryMan: Alluded to. The first time Anna visits the manor she found herself stranded on the other side of the bay after the tide came in. A silent fisherman finds her and brings her back to the village.
* FlyawayShot: The last scene before the credits is a zoom-out from the house into the sky [[spoiler:(where Marnie lives)]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}:
** Anna has blue eyes. This is foreshadowing that she is of MixedAncestry. [[spoiler:Who else has blue eyes? Marnie, who turns out to be Anna's grandmother.]]
** Marnie dresses in a vintage fashion that resembles styles from the early to mid-20th century. It's unusual for a girl her age but not particularly unheard of and it establishes her [[GirlyGirlAndTomboy the girly girl to Anna's tomboy]]. [[spoiler:It also foreshadows that Marnie is DeadAllAlong and not a modern child]].
* FosteringForProfit: Anna feared Yoriko only adopted her for the money. Turns out, it wasn't the case.
* FosterKid: Marnie's governess abuses her when her parents aren't around.
* FriendlessBackground: Being an overly introvert and quirky girl, Anna has no no friends at home.
* GildedCage: Marnie lives in a luxurious mansion with wealthy parents, but her governess is abusive and the maids bully her. [[spoiler:Hisako]] explicitly says that Marnie was neglected.
* GhibliHills: A given.
* GhostlyGoals: [[spoiler: Marnie wants to spend time with Anna, who is truly her granddaughter, and help her grow beyond her abandonment issues.]]
* HairContrastDuo: Blond Marnie and brunette Anna.
* HandsOnApproach: The physical connection when Marnie shows Anna how to row the boat properly.
* HauntedHouse: Marnie's house and, to some extend, the Silo.
* HauntedHouseHistorian: The uncle alludes the hauntedness of the silo and the mansion.
* HighClassGloves: Most of the ladies at the dinner party have them. [[TheFashionista Marnie's mother wears them in every scene she appears in]].
* HistoryRepeats: Marnie [[spoiler:repeats her parents' mistakes, sending her daughter off to boarding school at a young age due to Marnie being ill, leaving her daughter Emily to grow up independent and estranged. Emily, like her mother, went off to get married in a rush, only to die in a car accident with her husband and leave their baby alive. The cycle finally breaks when Anna makes up with her foster parents]].
* HopeSpot: For Marnie, it was [[spoiler:getting a chance to raise her granddaughter better than she raised her own daughter. She then died a year later from shock and health complications, leaving Anna in foster care.]]
* IllGirl: Anna, though she works her way up to PluckyGirl by the end.
* ImaginaryFriend: Anna come to this conclusion about [[spoiler:Marnie]] when reading her {{diary}}.
-->'''Anna''': [[spoiler:Marnie is...someone I made up. An imaginary girl, only in my mind.]]
* ImColdSoCold: Said word for word by Marnie inside the silo.
* InescapableNet: The bed sheet Marnie throws on the CreepyHousekeeper keeps the latter trapped long enough for Marnie to fetch the key and lock her up.
* InnocentBlueEyes: Anna and Marnie. This is significant, as blue is a very exotic eye color in Japan and Anna's blue eyes do not go unnoticed, which just feeds her sense of isolation.
* IntimateHealing: When Marnie starts freezing in the silo, Anna crouches beside her to warm her up.
* {{Jerkass}}: The governess and two maids abuse and bully Marnie when her parents are away. In addition, from the description we're given, the governess and maids were bullying Marnie [[ForTheEvulz for no apparent reason other than sheer malice]].
* JerkassRealization: Downplayed; Anna over the course of the movie, realizing that her ParentalAbandonment issues make her unwilling to trust the people who care for her.
* LongLostRelative: [[spoiler: Marnie is Anna's grandmother. Kazuhiko is therefore her grandfather and Marnie's mother and father are Anna's are, therefore great-grandparents.]]
* LoveLetterLunacy: [[spoiler: Parental love version: Anna's isolation and disillusionment began when she found a hidden letter to her foster mother that rocked her whole world.]]
* MamaBear: Setsuko is one when Anna is accused of being a delinquent.
* MeaningfulEcho: [[spoiler: On the boat Sayaka's wants the diary to be her and Anna's secret which echoes the scene earlier at the same place where Marnie asked to keep her relationship with Anna a secret. The connection is that Marnie's diary brought Anna and Sayaka together as friends.]]
* MelancholyMoon: There are haunting images of the crescent moon shining over the bay at night.
* MistakenIdentity:
** Sayaka asks Anna, [[spoiler:"Are you Marnie?"]] and claims she found the latter's diary.
** Later on, when Anna finds Marnie in the silo, the latter calls her [[spoiler:Kazuhiko, her boyfriend.]]
* MixedAncestry: Anna is of Japanese and white ancestry. Because of that, unlike most other characters, she has blue eyes. [[spoiler:The titular Marnie turns out to be Anna's deceased grandmother as a child.]]
* MsExposition: Hisako, blatantly so. Her story fills in many of the gaps by the end of the movie.
* {{Mukokuseki}}: Subverted [[spoiler: Anna's blue eyes attract notice and are an important clue to her heritage]].
* NeverTrustATrailer: The imagery used in promotional materials led quite a few people to believe that the movie deals with a [[RomanticTwoGirlFriendship budding romance between the two female leads]]. [[spoiler:It doesn't.]]
* NewParentNomenclatureProblem: Anna calls her foster mother "auntie". A CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming ensues towards the end when she suddenly addresses her with "mother".
* NoAccountingForTaste: Marnie falls for a guy [[spoiler:that left her alone in a silo, a place she fears, all night to help with her phobia.]] That guy would later become [[spoiler:Anna's grandfather.]]
* NoAntagonist: This is a ComingOfAgeStory with the focus on figuring out just who Marnie is. There are some instances of cruelty but there are no real antagonist.
* NotNowKiddo: Anna when Sayaka reveals that she [[spoiler:found the rest of Marnie's diary]] right when Marnie goes missing near the silo, and Anna knows that the silo is Marnie's worst fear. Sayaka lampshades this.
* OldFashionedRowboatDate: Marnie teaches Anna to rowboat and often bonds together with the rowboat.
* ParentalAbandonment: Marnie's parents are present, but often leave her with an abusive governess; Anna's abandonment issues stem from several traumatic early childhood incidents.
-->'''Anna''': My real parents died when I was little. My grandmother, too. I know they didn't die on purpose, but... sometimes I feel like... I can't forgive them... for leaving me all alone.
* PensieveFlashback: Towards the end when Hisako fills Anna in on Marnie's life story, we see Anna being present in the flashbacks.
* PleaseDontLeaveMe: Marnie to her parents every time they leave, and to Anna in the silo.
* PluckyGirl: As expected in a Creator/StudioGhibli film, Marnie is fairly plucky (though her pluckiness has limits) and she teaches Anna pluckiness by example.
* TheReveal: ''Three'' over the course of the film, all regarding Marnie's true identity.
** Anna [[spoiler:was only ''imagining'' Marnie the entire time]].
** Marnie [[spoiler:was born ''decades'' ago, and eventually married, bore children, and [[DeadAllAlong died in her old age]], which leads up to the final reveal...]]
** Marnie [[spoiler:is Anna's deceased grandmother]].
* RomanticTwoGirlFriendship: Anna and Marnie's relationship ''seems'' to veer in that direction at first. [[spoiler: Things are not quite as they seem, though.]]
* SceneryPorn: This is by Creator/StudioGhibli, so this is to be expected. Still, the animation of the water in that marsh is ''gorgeous''.
* SecondaryCharacterTitle: The film is about a girl named Anna who befriends the titular Marnie.
* SecretDiary: [[spoiler:Sayaka finds Marnie's diary and shows it to Anna upon which the latter realize that she just imagined her encounters with Marnie.]]
* SheCleansUpNicely:
** Marnie when she dresses for the party in a pink dress.
** Anna in her festival clothes.
* ShesAllGrownUp: [[spoiler:Marnie at her wedding.]]
* ShrineToTheFallen: A variation of the living. The uncle and aunt have kept their daughter's room as it was when she left the house.
* SinkOrSwimMentor: [[spoiler:Kazuhiko]] left Marnie alone in the silo for one night so she would have to face her fears. He comes back for her in the morning.
* SpoiledSweet:
** Marnie is this, living with wealthy parents but also befriending the lonely Anna.
** Sayaka is the same way, though also adventurous.
* StandardFemaleGrabArea: Marnie is dragged around this way by Nan and the maids. Justified in that she is a child and they are full-grown adults.
* StepfordSmiler:
** Anna is this around everyone, hiding her feelings unless provoked because she knows that she has a good life and thus she shouldn't complain. The few times that the facade breaks is heartbreaking, like when she tells Marnie that [[spoiler:she found out her foster parents were being paid to look after her, but they use it to take care of her, and she hates that it was being kept a secret.]]
** Marnie is a CheerfulChild, up to the point where she reveals that [[spoiler:her Nan and the maids were abusive and her parents while good people aren't always around to protect her]].
* SuddenlyVoiced: [[spoiler:The fisherman at the end when hearing the name "Marnie".]]
* TimeTravel: [[spoiler:Combined with LivingMemory. Both seem possible in the beginning and the difference matters in the end.]]
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Anna and Marnie, respectively. It's a rare example with an introverted tomboy and an outgoing girly girl.
* TroubledFetalPosition:
** Marnie when two maids tried to drag her to the silo, and later on when she's trapped in there due to her own fear.
* TrueBlueFemininity: Marnie favors wearing blue dresses. [[spoiler:Her style of dress could be {{foreshadowing}} to the fact she's not a modern day child]].
* UnfinishedBusiness: [[spoiler:Marnie came back in ghost form to assist with her granddaughter's ParentalAbandonment.]]
* TheVoiceless: The fisherman apparently hasn't said a single word for quite some time but [[SuddenlyVoiced breaks his silence at the end]] when hearing the name ''Marnie''.
* VoiceoverLetter: When Anna reads Marnie's diary, it's voiced by Marnie herself.
* WeatherSavesTheDay: See the first part of Dramatic Thunder above.
* WhamLine:
** [[spoiler: Sayaka's "Are you Marnie?"]]
** Yoriko talking about a photograph: [[spoiler:"Someone at the orphanage told me it belonged to your grandmother."]]
* WhenSheSmiles: Anna's laugh is quite sweet since at best she gives a repressed smile.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Marnie is scared of the silo because "naughty children get locked up there" and the maids as a prank nearly did lock her up there on a stormy night.
* WriteBackToTheFuture: [[spoiler:Marnie's diary]] in effect though not in intent.
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