I've always been a huge Hayao Miyazaki fan, so when I saw his name on this film, I instantly expected good things. I wasn't disappointed. This film displays what I can only describe as "quiet genius." As an earlier review notes, you won't get a lot of epic action scenes like in Miyazaki's other work, but I think that's okay for this film. The simple scene designs and the focus on interactions between characters left room for the imagination to fill in the blanks, which is a quality I've always liked in a film. I also liked the demonstrations of the different uses that the Borrowers found for everyday items that we take for granted. (I found the idea of earrings used as climbing gear especially clever.)
On top of all that, I also got a few great laughs out of this film. I cracked up at the scene with the crow in the window and the scene where Arriety tried to figure out how a bow-and-arrow worked. Haru's obsession with "the little people" was a little creepy, but still made me laugh, especially when she was frantically going through the house, trying to figure out where her captive Borrower was.
Overall, a heartwarming and entertaining film with something to offer both kids and adults.
My rating: 5/5