Jim Broadbent

'Mary and the Witch's Flower,' from Japan's Studio Ponoc, opens a world of visual enchantment

'Mary and the Witch's Flower,' from Japan's Studio Ponoc, opens a world of visual enchantment

Magic flows freely if not infinitely in “Mary and the Witch’s Flower,” an effortless animated charmer from the gifted Japanese director and Studio Ghibli veteran Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

Adapted by Yonebayashi and Riko Sakaguchi from Mary Stewart’s 1971 children’s novel, “The Little Broomstick,” the movie ushers us into an enchanted realm where water can dance, brooms and carpets take flight, and woodland critters transform into fantastical beings.

The greatest source of all this magic is the flower of the title, a glowing violet weed called a “fly-by-night,” which blooms only once every seven years and is coveted by witches and wizards for its extraordinary powers. As luck would...

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