My Neighbor Totoro
Now 21 years old, this Miyazaki film is enduringly fresh. It is brilliantly grounded in a real human story, that of the mother in hospital and the father struggling to raise their two daughters; the school-age Satsuki and the four-year-old Mei are beautifully contrasted characters. And then Miyazaki adds on the fantasy elements without sentimentalizing or sapping the force of either the real or the fantastic. As usual, the backgrounds are impossibly gorgeous. And unlike Kiki's Delivery Service or Howl's Moving Castle, the setting is recognizably Japanese, so there's less of an aura of Disneyfication. A small masterpiece.