The Borrowers (1997)

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This 1990s family film did not get much push or press, but it is one great movie. Based on the The Borrowers books by Mary Norton, the movie has a very warm 1930s UK look to it, even though the main family of “beings” are American. The Lenders live in a nice suburban house in some city we never learn the name of, which was left to them by Joe Lender’s (Aden Gillett) great aunt. They share the house with a family of Borrowers. Pod (Jim Broadbent), Homily (Celia Imrie), Arrietty (Flora Newbigin), and Peagreen (Tom Felton) Clock are people whom are are about four inches tall, have curly red hair, and “borrow” things from the Lenders to make their tiny lives a bit easier.

As it turns out, the Lenders are in a bit of bind. Joe’s great aunt’s lawyer, Ocious P. Potter (John Goodman), cannot find the will to prove that the house belongs to them, and therefore they don’t have a claim to it. Since they cannot stay there, they have to move. Potter plans to demolish the house and put up an apartment complex in its place. A few nights before the move, Arrietty is exploring in Pete Lender’s (Bradley Pierce) bedroom, when she is caught by the 10 year-old boy. She prepared to be squished, but Pete finds her fascinating and does not want to squish her. He tells her about the move, and that the Clocks should move along with them to the new house across town. The Clocks are fearful of the move, but Pete promises to help them in any way he can. During the move, the Clocks get separated. Peagreen and Arrietty are separated from their parents when the moving van hits a bump in the road, and the laundry soap box they were riding in breaks. The Clock kids fall through a whole in the moving van floor, and go back into the old house. This is when Ocious P. Potter to search for the will and destroy it. He finds it, but Peagreen and Arrietty manage to get it from him and steal it away. The he calls on Exterminator Jeff (Mark Williams) to help him get rid of the kids. The chase is on to get that will to City Hall to prove who truly owns the house, and it takes the Borrowers and Potter into parts of town they have never been, and they all learn things about their little part of the world that they could not imagine.

The scope of this world as seen through the eyes of a Borrower was very well done, with everyday item props blown up to accomodate the actors in their “tiny” state. There are some scenes featuring Hugh Laurie as Police Officer Steady long before his success with House, and other players we recognise from the Harry Potter movies. This is a fun family movie that should not be missed, and upon further searching, became a hit TV series in the UK. I really hope to find those episodes some day. I read the books as a kid, and they are always fun. The whole of Mary Norton’s Borrowers series, in book or media form is a real treat, and everyone should enjoy them.

I give this film a Musing review of ★★★★★☆