30.3.10

Kiki's Delivery Service

The weakest Miyazaki film I've seen so far. Still incredible, sure -- this guy doesn't make bad films. But I found Kirsten Dunst rather hysterical. And the cat is no Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Moreover, the first half of the film meanders a bit too much. And while the world is meticulously constructed, it doesn't compare with what Myazaki has created elsewhere.

Would it be too outrageous to say this is Myazaki's film about capitalism? Guffaw if you like, but when Kiki realizes that earning a living doing what you love makes it harder to love it... that encapsulates the frustration of having to balance fulfillment with selling yourself to live. Miyazaki's heroines are always uncomfortable with barter. Living in the big city, Kiki is forced into it. The pressure of her work saps her magical ability, and she has to go chill out -- find that inspiration again. A holiday in the woods and a pep-talk from an artist helps, but what really does the trick is saving Tombo -- letting someone else in. Independence is hard. Sharing the load, especially with someone who shares your passion, makes life in the big city easier. Just look at the wife and husband team that run the bakery.

Is Miyazaki suggesting that girls in big cities need husbands in order to survive? Maybe. The fact that he doesn't patronize saves his skin. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing Myazaki present some boy-heroes that are as selfless, and as vulnerable, as Kiki.

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