Michael Bennett’s review published on Letterboxd:
Creating is so, so hard.
Forging your own path? Even harder.
This entire past week, I’ve felt just how Kiki felt during the last stretch of the film (before the dirigible incident), beleiving I was incapable of flying. That I was not only of no practical use to people, but that my existence as a whole must be marked by this horrifying meaninglessness. In a time
when I so desperately needed to prove my abilities as an artist, my power left me & I just flailed about day after day.
Not to mention the fact that everything I did
‘just felt like imitations of other artists i loved’
,, it felt like little ghosts of miyazaki, argento, and demy diminished under my hand as i went. how could i form an original thought like this?
And yesterday was the most difficult day I’ve had
in a while. The first day after production on my mess of a movie wrapped (wrapped? I hope not. My crew and actors have scattered but five pages have yet to be filmed due to a few unforeseeable circumstances), I found myself swallowed up by that empty feeling
‘am i gonna shrivel up and die?’
Now I’d laugh about it. Yes, already. because all it takes is a little bit of perspective and a whole lot of love to fill that void and begin to feel complete again.
I spent the day as Kiki did once, helping my cousins to make a few peach pies. I passed time with my very best friend and tried to forget all about last week.
And we went to see the 30th anniversary rerelease of Kiki’s Delivery Service. Still I was distracted, but after a few minutes, it absorbed me once again. The way that it’s paced is miraculous. The editing is invisible and all the more effective for it. Somehow, by cutting on rest instead of action, the film becomes a more convincing representation of life. The animated costumes are gorgeous, the soft hues heartening, and the people.. oh, the people. What good company to keep when you’re feeling down. Ursula, Tombo, Jiji, everyone.
at the end, when Jiji meows quietly in Kiki’s ear, it’s a moment of transcendence. The movie almost feels like it’s on the verge of becoming too positive, even saccharine. But when, in the end, Jiji still can’t speak, it comes as a comfort. Everything won’t always get better. Things can be sad, and stay sad, and have consequences that will never go away. But that makes life no less joyous, and certainly no less beautiful.