While their ailing mother recuperates in a city hospital, young Satsuki and Mei (Dakota and Elle Fanning) move to a country house with their professor father. Once there, they meet two large, furry creatures called Totoros, who are visible only to them. As the kindly forest spirits become their de facto caretakers, the girls embark on a series of enchanting adventures.
Whimsical and benevolently strange, Miyazaki's "Totoro" is one of the finest animated children's tales in memory. Sweeping Japanese landscapes and gorgeous hand-drawn imagery by the director outfit this gentle story, in which two girls find solace in their friendship with a menagerie of affectionate mystical beings. There's enough nuance to keep adults engaged, too, as the young protagonists learn to cope with illness, absence, and other life lessons. Neither brash nor saccharine, "Totoro" is an imaginative, joyous film the entire clan will enjoy.