Hiroyuki Okiura; 2011, 120 min. Recommended ages: 8+ In Japanese
The last time Momo saw her father they had a fight — and now all she has left to remember him by is an incomplete letter that he had started to write her, a blank piece of paper penned with the words “Dear Momo” but nothing more. Moving with her mother from bustling Tokyo to the remote Japanese island of Shio, she soon discovers three goblins living in her attic, a trio of mischievous spirit-creatures who have been assigned to watch over her and that only she can see. The goblins are also perpetually famished and they begin to wreak havoc on the formerly tranquil island, ransacking pantries and ravaging orchards — acts for which Momo often has to take the blame. But these funny monsters also have a serious side, and may hold the key to helping Momo understand what her father had been trying to tell her. A Letter to Momo is a wonderfully expressive and beautifully hand drawn tale that combines bursts of whimsy and kinetic humor with deep felt emotion and drama. The animation is superb throughout, from the painstakingly rendered serenity of the island’s Shinto shrines to the climactic finale — a frantic chase featuring thousands of squirming, morphing ghosts and goblins that is the best flight of supernatural fancy since Spirited Away.