I found out a few weeks ago that my wife had never seems Miyazaki movie, so I immediately requested a copy of Spirited Away from the library. When I suggested watching it the other day, she asked “What’s it about?”, and I found myself totally flummoxed.

It’d been years since I’d seen the movie, but I did my best. “Spirited Away is about a girl who is moving with her parents to a new home. Along the way she ends up in a magical world of spirits and demons, and gets a job at a bath house.” It was right about here that I realized the narrative of Spirited Away isn’t really what mattered, and explained that it was the art and the music and the mood that made me love it so much.

After we watched the movie, I asked her what she thought it was about. She thought about it for a moment and then said, “Okay, that’s why you had trouble answering.” We talked about a lot different things you could say it was about… growing up, learning to adapt, friendship, taking responsibility, falling in love…

It’s a great movie, but it’s still pretty hard to sum up what it’s about.