Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Genre: Animation, Kids

Cast: Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Janeane Garofalo

Synopsis: Kiki, a young witch in training, must leave home for one year to live alone and make her way in the world. The film chronicles Kiki’s time away from home and the difficulties she faces in being independent and discovering who she is and what her talents may be.

Not a lot of people know this, but my dream is to write for a living. I currently work as a journalist for a legal publication but my real passion is writing fiction or, perhaps more realistically, dreaming about writing fiction. Every time I try to write something I’m overcome with anxiety. I worry that nothing I write is good and, as a result, I back myself into this destructive cycle where I hardly write because I don’t think I can do it well enough and what I do write I criticize harshly, thus corroborating my theory that I can’t write well. My lack of confidence in my abilities has been weighing heavily on my mind these past few weeks. I had an idea of a story I wanted to write. I wanted it to be personal and for it to explore wide themes of maturity and how events from our past can provide inspiration as well as scar us. However, I couldn’t move past my writer’s block. Kiki’s Delivery Service helped me work through these issues. It truly is a remarkable film that everyone should watch, especially those who are trying to discover their passion in life.

As already mentioned, the movie follows the misadventures of Kiki, a 13 year old witch who has to live away from home for a year as part of her training. She leaves home for the bright lights of a beautiful port city where she meets all sorts of fascinating people. Kiki, during her time away from home, must face a number of challenges such as finding work and accommodation, dealing with boys, and losing her powers and spirit. The movie has a whole treasure chest of valuable life lessons: work is work and it’s important to put your best into everything you do; you will experience bad things in life and meet selfish people but you have to look at the instances of good and beauty to give you hope; there are times when you’ll lose faith in yourself and all you’ll want to do is quit but you mustn’t because you have something special in you. Everyone has the power to be good and to create something wonderful. You just have to have confidence. If you have that confidence then you’ll find your inspiration. It was everything I needed to hear.

Beyond the valuable messages, Kiki’s Delivery Service offers a lot to both children and adults. For starters, the animation is crisp, detailed, and wondrous. It’s like stepping into another world and, at times, it’s possible to forget that you’re actually watching an animated movie (being high probably helps with this). The characters are all complex and never patronizing. In many respects it’s not a childish film. Any film which has a bunch of crows scrambling to claw out a girl’s eyes can’t really be for kids. Finally, the film came across as being very pro-women. It’s about the strength of sisterhood and women helping one another. In that respect, it’s typical Studio Ghibli which is well known for focusing its films on female characters as opposed to male ones. All in all, there’s just so much to take away from this film that I could keep going on and on but hopefully I’ve adequately conveyed they magic behind this charming coming of age tale.

High-lights:

  • The beautiful animation and the whimsical story.
  • All the valuable life-lessons that every teenager should know. I will force my children to watch this movie.
  • The film contains a touching but age appropriate romance.
  • The scene in which Kiki sees the painting in the cabin is just mesmerizing.

Downers:

  • At first I wished that I could have found the Japanese version but, to be honest, it really isn’t much of an issue because the English language dub is still very good.

Summary:

An absolutely wonderful and inspiring piece of cinema. This movie helped me chase away a lot of inner demons I was struggling with and, because of that, it has skyrocketed onto my list for all-time favorite movies. The message is personal so I advise that you watch this on your own when you’re feeling low. I have no doubt that the magic of this movie will help to raise your spirits and will spur you to take on the world.

10/10

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2 Comments

Filed under Animation, Kids, Mind Blowingly Awesome

2 responses to “Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

  1. Great review! I liked reading this because I’m FINALLY getting into the Studio Ghibli stuff and finally beginning to see what all the fuss is about. I watched Princess Mononoke & Castle In The Sky recently & loved them. I really like the sound of this one now! Not QUITE as highly rated as other Ghibli stuff but it sounds delightful. 🙂

    • Princess Mononoke is absolutely astounding. Castle in the Sky is my personal favorite. There’s something special about each Ghibli movie and they’re the perfect movies to watch when you’re down. I hope you get through all the others!

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