Movie Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

It’s kind of a shame that I never watched this movie before. I’ve likely mentioned this before, but I watched Spirited Away, another Miyazaki movie, at a fairly young age and didn’t understand the plot at all. I saw Princess Mononoke when I was older, but I still wasn’t quite old enough to understand the plot and disliked both movies greatly. Unfortunately this bad history with Miyazaki movies has clouded my opinion of them and I have a tendency to avoid them even now.

This movie has changed my opinion of Miyazaki movies entirely. Maybe it’s just because I’m old enough to understand the movies now, but I have every intention of watching almost all the rest of Miyazaki’s movies now (except Spirited Away, nothing will get me to watch that movie again).

13-year old Kiki is a witch in training, and as per custom she has to leave home for a year as part of her training. Eventually she finds a beautiful seaside town called Koriko, and despite a somewhat less than perfect introduction to the locals, she and her cat Jiji settle nicely into the town. Eventually Kiki begins her titular delivery service, making friends with people around town. Unfortunately, after she is crushed by certain events, the worst thing possible happens to Kiki. She then must redefine herself in the face of losing everything that she believed defined her.

I greatly enjoyed the plotline in this movie. This isn’t a particularly action-packed movie, or at least it isn’t until the very end, so it has a very slowly paced storyline that unravels very naturally. It begins with a certain slice-of-life feeling, which is something of a breath of fresh air to me, since I like watching very action-y movies. I can understand why some people would be put off by this pacing, but I enjoyed it because it highlighted Kiki settling into daily life in Koriko very well. Kiki is sweet and likeable, though my favorite character was actually Jiji, who has a biting tongue and sarcastic wit. The plot itself was well written and thought out. I can’t say that I was never bored at any parts of this movie, but it managed to hold my attention till the end, where it just kind of grabbed it with an iron fist. The ending was very heartwarming and inspiring to watch, and I think that more than made up for any issues I had with the movie.

The art in this movie is also beautiful. While it may not be Ponyo (Kiki’s Delivery Service was released in 1989) it has the style and beautiful detail of Miyazaki works, and they really breathed life into this little town by the sea. Despite being simplistic, the detail is extraordinary and it never detracted from the experience. It isn’t the sort of movie I would watch again specifically for the art (a la Tekkon Kinkreet, for instance) but it was beautiful nonetheless.

This movie isn’t a particularly serious one. It’s message is one about growing up and daily life, and though the movie is targeted at a relatively young audience, I feel it would be enjoyable to most people. It is a very slice-of-life movie, so it’s really quite relaxing to watch in your spare time. I highly recommend it to everyone. This movie is unrated.

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2 Responses to Movie Review: Kiki’s Delivery Service

  1. Jade says:

    This is the cutest movie. I watched it a lot when I was little. Great review! 🙂

  2. Susan says:

    Princess Mononoke would be a difficult movie to understand as a child. I remember watching Sprited Away when I was really little, but I still haven’t watched Kiki’s Delivery Service. How about Totoro?

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