Kiki's Delivery Service

Kiki's Delivery Service ★★★★

Kiki's Delivery Service, just like My Neighbor Totoro, is such a delightful, pleasant watch in so many ways: charming, likable, and immensely relatable characters, absolutely gorgeous visuals (oh, those colors), a gentle, relaxing, low-stakes story, intimate themes that directly flow out of the narrative through the characters' growth, and a lively musical score as the cherry on top. I was a tad disappointed by how reserved it felt in its worldbuilding while hardly utilizing the concepts it has to offer (outside of Kiki's love for flying, of course, but it doesn't do anything beyond that), which, accompanied by the awkward pacing and structural issues, held this one back from being in the ranks of Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. Yet, even then, the immensely lovable protagonist in Kiki brought up by Miyazaki's ability to evoke larger-than-life themes through his simple stories greatly overpower its problems. I could totally see myself loving it even more as a comfort watch in the future. Any synonym for “cute,” “charming” and “sweet” can be used to describe this film.

I loved how it showcased Kiki's passion for flying gradually declining over the course of the story after she started doing it for a living ... I can relate to that more than I would like to admit. The nuance and subtlety behind these themes make it all the better by not telling the audience what their takeaway should be: Instead, the themes are presented as the foundation of the protagonist's inner conflict as a biproduct of related external conflicts, so that the viewer can feel what he or she is meant to feel while the film doesn't have to say a word. Powerful storytelling at its finest.

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