Matt Polen’s review published on Letterboxd:
“We each need to find our inspiration, Kiki. Sometimes it’s not that easy.”
Children don’t have to be coddled. Perhaps because I haven’t seen as many as I would have liked, but there’s something about Hayao Miyazaki films that always makes them seem more imaginative, whimsical, and fantastical yet grounded when compared to other “children’s” films.
Films like Kiki’s Delivery Service don’t try to teach kids generic lessons like “be kind to one another,” or “family is more important than anything.” Kids know these things. But a film wherein a young witch struggles to find her passion, cultivates healthy relationships and tries to make her family proud while making the world a better place? A film where the protagonist struggles to drag herself out of bed because despite her hardworking nature, she’s just not sure she’s good enough? Find me an adult that can’t relate to that in some way.
Themes aside, Kiki’s character design is simple but endearing, and her tiny black cat Jiji is ridiculously adorable. The town that she chooses to spend her year abroad in is parts Paris, Prague, San Francisco, and London, and it’s hard to tire of taking it in. I can’t imagine sending my 13-year-old daughter away for a year, but if she’s armed with compassionate messages like this, I know I won’t have to worry.