Oct 052012

Title: Kiki’s Delivery Service


Kiki's Delivery Service

Sitting on a broomstick like that can’t be comfortable

When a witch turns 13 she traditionally sets off to find her talent. Our protagonist, Kiki, doesn’t know what she wants to do but she’s excited to see the world as she flys off on her broom with her talking cat Jiji. She makes her way to a seaside metropolis – vintage Stockholm, maybe? There she meets a friendly woman who runs a bakery and her silent but endearing husband, a young aviation enthusiast, a sweet old lady, a couple of bratty girls, and a bohemian artist living in the woods. She laughs, she cries, she grows up a little. Break out the Sweet-O-Meter!

Appropriate for:

Ages 5 and up

There is absolutely nothing objectionable about this movie. Starting at age five younger kids may miss out on some of the themes of self-confidence and friendship but it certainly doesn’t hurt to get them started early.

Content Warnings:

Oh no, a witch! This movie must be packed with satanism and unchristian values! If the mere mention of the word “witch” has sent you into paroxysms of bible-thumping rage then don’t even bother, and what are you doing here? If you’re a rational human being (POW!) then you’ll be happy to acknowledge the metaphorical expression that magic can exist in each of us. Having said that, there is some suspense and one of Kiki’s friends gets into a perilous situation but [spoilers!] everything is ok in the end. Yay!

The Scoop:

This remains one of our family’s favorite movies. The kids have been watching it since they were, um, smaller – a long time – and they still regularly request it. As our daughter gets older and is dealing more and more with challenges of self-confidence, friendships, and – I don’t know if I can say it – boys (kill me now!) she finds new stuff to take away from it every time. Our son continues to relate to Kiki’s friend Tombo – a snappy dresser, an aviation obsessed inventor, generally clueless about girls – if our son wore glasses the resemblance would be remarkable. He also likes Kiki’s snarky cat Jiji. This movie has all of Hayao Miyazaki’s hallmarks, a hybrid European/Japanese setting, aviation, strong characters, aviation, an engaging story, beautiful art and animation, and, um, oh yeah, aviation. Miyazaki is always a good bet, even when the material gets a little creepy (Spirited Away) or just plain weird (Porco Rosso). However, there’s no denying that his films are always creative and engaging and Kiki’s Delivery Service is no exception.

Do you agree or disagree with my assessment or have something to add?

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