Kiki's Delivery Service ★★★½

While Kiki's Delivery Service lacks the bravura creativity of Spirited Away and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, I usually find that Miyazaki's bolder movies pay a steep price for that inspiration and devolve into incomprehensible fantasy gibberish. Kiki's has more in common with the touching, sensitive My Neighbor Totoro, as it also examines the emotions of a young girl, only slightly more prosaically. Totoro's unique sense of whimsy and less conventional narrative structure imbue it with a rare authenticity for a movie about children. Kiki's Delivery Service is similarly affectionate and tender, but strikingly ordinary compared to Totoro's effortless and special exploration of a specific childhood angst through subdued but magical fantasy. There isn't much wrong with Kiki's Delivery Service insofar as its target audience is tween girls who are likely to be more engaged in its tame adventures than I was. It's nice. It's cute.

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