Earwig and The Witch Review - Entertaining, Magical, Charming

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Earwig and The Witch, from Studio Ghibli, presents the story of a young girl, abandoned, and raised in an orphanage until one day, against her wishes she is selected for adoption and suddenly begins a new life.

The film begins with an intense motorcycle chase scene with an attractive curly haired red-headed diva, weaving in and out of traffic, she is chased by an unseen driver, whose yellow automobile has James bond accessories. Using every attempt to stop her, she eludes capture.

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Suddenly the mother, voiced by Kacey Musgraves, uncradled the baby. She explains to the cooing infant she’ll have to live here for a while, though not to worry, the place is spotless, and the rooms are filled with sunlight and they make the best Shepard’s Pie, and in that moment, she slips a note inside the blanket and vanishes.

The crying of a child brings the orphanage’s matron, voiced by Pandora Colin, and assistant voiced by Alex Cartana to the door. Suddenly our little Earwig soon to be renamed Erica, voiced by Taylor Henderson, has a new home, family, and friends.

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Suddenly the door opens, and the children all dressed as ghosts are scaring the neighbors as they play in the cemetery. It is here we see time has passed and now Erica is ten, with reindeer pigtails, that stand straight up on her head. Her best friend, Custard, voiced by Logan Hannan, joins her as they break into the bell tower, climb to the top, look out over the edge to the world outside their well protected home.

Erica and Custard, to avoid selection, create a code which usually works. Today, however, a plump woman with purple curly hair and a very tall man, dressed in purple, settle on Erica and she, against her wishes, is selected.

We find the woman, Bella Yaga, voiced by Vanessa Marshall needed an extra set of hands to help her create her potions ordered by the locals. She is a bully, and unfortunately no match for Erica who is determined to learn all the magic she can, and with the help of Thomas, voiced by Dan Stevens, a talking black cat, they work to turn this situation to her favor.

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The Mandrake, voiced by Richard E. Grant, is in charge and as we see must never be disturbed or the entire household is shaken.

The adjustment time is awkward for everyone, and Bella, who has never learned to control her temper and has trouble accepting her culpability in the past takes it out on those more vulnerable. Soon The Mandrake, the head of the household, steps in an stops Bella from her continued threats.

After Erica orchestrates a major blowup, we find she manages to exercise her ability to keep everyone on an even keel, build a new home, and finally to create a new family, from what looked like it would be a tragic, abusive, horror story.

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Earwig and The Witch, the first new Studio Ghibli production in four years, is filled with eye popping neon colors and perfects the Ghibli style of animation.

An official selection at Cannes, the film is filled with all the allure and magic children enjoy. Talking cats, squishing slime, ingenuity of a child and more, hope for a family unit, created or natural, that becomes happy.

Earwig and the Witch, funny, charming and entertaining with bold colors, and music to soothe the savage beast. 


Country: Japan.

Language: English.

Runtime: 82 minutes.

Director: Goro Miyazaki.

Screenplay: Diana Wynne Jones (novel), Keiko Niwa, Emi Gunji, Hayao Miyazaki.

Producer: Toshio Suzuki.

Cast: .

Theme Song: Preformed by Kacey Musgraves.

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