Colorful crisp animation is the highlight of this film by director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie Was There, Arrietty). Mary and the Witch’s Flower is an adaptation of the 1971 novel by Mary Stewart called The Little Broomstick. The film is a fantasy/action piece which can be watched by all ages though it is primarily aimed at younger folks.
Stuck in the country is not exactly how Mary (voiced by Ruby Barnhill) pictured herself spending her time. But that is what has come about for the young girl. She is now living with her Great Aunt Charlotte (voiced by Lynda Baron) and is bored out of her mind. She is about to learn that the countryside she is living in is not a sleepy as she might have believed.
One day she follows a cat into a forest nearby there she finds an old broomstick and an odd flower. The flower is from a plant that blooms only once every seven years. The forest she is in is the only place this plant is found. Used together the broomstick and flower transport Mary above the clouds to the distant Endor College. This is a school of magic led by the headmistress Madame Mumblechook (voiced by Kate Winslet) and Doctor Dee (voiced by Jim Broadbent).
At first the school seems like a fantastic place then Mary begins to realize that there are some unsavoury things happening. Mary finds herself telling a lie. Rethinking things, she puts her life at risk trying to fix what she has done.
Enough to be found here to entertain 8-12 year olds. There is magic, laughs, some danger and uplifting. At certain points it pays homage to films like Harry Potter with the whole magical world created. Sometimes the pacing does suffer from slow points but overall it is well done. It has that old-time feel to it. A type of storytelling that largely disappeared long ago.
Many of the themes touched on by the story like technology vs. the environment are important ones and not often addressed in films directed towards young people.
-Film Completion Press Conference
-Theatrical Promotional Movie
-Interview with the Filmmakers