Kiki’s Delivery Service

A Magical Coming of Age

Cast: Voices of: Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Debbie Reynolds, Janeane Garofalo

Director: Hayao Miyazaki

Plot Summary: Kiki, a young witch, decides to set out on her own to find a city where she can settle down and develop her skills.

Set in a world much like our own, this gentle coming of age story may not be for everyone. More of a children’s tale, there are no antagonists, a meandering plot that is as light as a feather (or a magical broom), and certainly displays a cheerful, clean, and relatively evil-free society.

The story focuses on Kiki (Dunst), a young thirteen-year old who is ready to go out in the world and make it on her own. She is a witch, and her rite of passage is to find a city without one of its own and, well, I guess make things better for everyone. And, of course, practice her talents. Kiki’s talent is flying, which she does for most of the movie, with her black cat Jiji (Hartman) holding on and making pessimistic comments. But Kiki is a more cheerful soul and usually just laughs him off.

Kiki does find a city, beautifully drawn and textured. She doesn’t know quite what to do at first, but an unexpected meeting with a baker, a mother, a baby, and a pacifier sets her on the path of her business, a delivery service where fast flying is a big advantage.

The movie focuses on small, pleasant touches. How Kiki helps an old woman bake a birthday present. How she finds kindness from the lady baker and a place to live. How she meets up with an older, sister figure who is a painter of wildlife. And, of course, there is a brash young guy who likes Kiki and tries to develop a friendship.

In the world today this movie is very light, innocent and fun. While aimed at children, I think it can be enjoyed by everyone. Much like a cheerful song played during a warm bubble bath, it left me in a good mood and I hope it is just as entertaining and uplifting for you.

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