Kiki's Delivery Service (subtitled)

A true visual and thematic forebear to Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service is a sumptuous example of Miyazaki’s singular ability to meld playfulness and melancholy in the service of a beautiful story. In a world inspired end-to-end by quaint Swedish villages, 13-year-old witch Kiki and her garrulous feline cohort embark on the traditional “year away from home,” a right of passage meant to nudge witches into greater comfort with their powers. Kiki’s burgeoning ability with a flying broom (and with little else) inspires her to start up a courier service, introducing her to a yellow brick road of colorful characters who change her through quiet inspiration and stubborn affection. The real power in Kiki’s Delivery Service lies in its gentlest subtleties; utilizing his bottomless powers of cinematic invention and Frank Herbert-level worldbuilding to enhance the tiptoe discoveries of a charming pre-teen, Miyazaki coaxes this otherwise simple coming-of-age journey into truly sublime territory.
Dir. Hayao Miyazaki, 1989, 35mm, 103 min.