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The Imaginary 2023 / Studio Ponoc celebrates creativity in this charming vision of where imagined friends go

7.2
S
Staff

Remember Bing Bong from Inside Out? This time, there’s a whole world of imaginary friends that don’t fade into the recesses of a child’s mind– instead, they transfer to another place, ready to take on the imaginations of children around the world. That’s the basic premise of The Imaginary. Of course, Studio Ponoc’s third film has been at least partially inspired by Studio Ghibli, with some of its staff having their start there, and with the film’s dreamlike portals and strange cats, but the film takes a more straightforward approach to its story and analogies. As Rudger fights against Mr. Bunting, the film examines, well, imagination, but in all its forms– fodder for corporations to feed on, propaganda to calm the masses, but also as the innately human response to grief, as a mature solution to life’s troubles. The Imaginary may not be a stand-out, but we can’t help but applaud Studio Ponoc’s sincerity in celebrating human creativity.

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