Kiki's Delivery Service

  • Review Date: August 8, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Common Sense Media says

A mystical, positive take on girl's coming of age.
  • Review Date: August 8, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1998
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kiki teaches kids that they should appreciate their friendships and not treat people like outsiders. She also makes it clear that it's important to love what you do.

Positive messages

Some of the positive messages include keeping a positive outlook, being generous and helpful even when you don't have to be, valuing your family and friends, and staying true to your passions, whether it's art or baking or, in Kiki's case, flying. The movie also emphasizes that it's OK to occasionally feel out of sorts or second guess your talent, because everyone feels that way once in a while.

Positive role models

The young protagonist is a wonderful role model. Kiki's selfless and always so generous with her time, willing to help her friends and customers, and often refusing to be paid when she goes above the call of duty. She's also very sensitive and doesn't understand the petty and rude way some kids her age act. Toward the end of the movie, Kiki rises above her insecurities to help save her friend.

Violence & scariness

Kiki comes close to falling off her broom during a wind gust and ends up falling through trees in one scene. She later incurs the wrath of angry crows who think she's trying to steal their eggs. Kids afraid of storms will be worried for her and Jiji as they fly through a rainstorm. Tombo nearly plummets from a great height, but is saved before he's seriously injured.

Sexy stuff

Tombo continuously flirts with and expresses his interest in Kiki. He asks her on a date, calls her, and visits her several times. They ride a bicycle together, blush in each other's presence, and share one hug after a near-death experience. Jiji falls in love with a female cat who at first doesn't give him the time of day. By the end of the movie, Jiji and the cat have had kittens together.

Language

Name calling like "stupid" and "snooty."

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Hayao Miyazaki's classic anime adventure is an ideal film for the entire family. Unlike some of his other movies that feature some potentially frightening characters or disturbing scenes, this film is a sweet coming-of-age adventure. Kiki, the 13-year-old protagonist, is a lovely role model. Yes, she's a witch, but she's a good one who doesn't manifest her magical powers in any way but flying. There's some mild flirting and a couple of close calls while Kiki's in the air, but otherwise this is a positive pick that could be a family classic.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Kiki (voiced by Kirsten Dunst) follows family tradition and settles for a year in a foreign city to serve as resident witch. She makes friends, finds room and board, and uses her broom-flying ability to launch a delivery service. A boy her age, the aviation buff Tombo (Matthew Laurence), develops a crush on her. As she approaches puberty, Kiki begins to lose her powers. She strikes up a chance friendship with an older girl, the artist Ursula (Janeane Garofalo), who helps Kiki weather her loss of confidence. When a dirigible accident puts Tombo in danger, Kiki must summon up all of her powers to save her friend.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

A huge box office hit in Japan, KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE is the first film by celebrated animator Hayao Miyazaki to become available in the U.S.; it's part of a deal struck between Disney and Miyazaki's studio. Kiki is set in a large European metropolis (an amalgam of Stockholm and other cities) in a time period suggesting the 1950s. The attention to detail, particularly in the scenes of Kiki flying over the city streets, rivals that of many a bigger-budgeted Disney feature. Such detail provides important background as small-town girl Kiki gradually acclimates herself to this new, bewildering environment. The film also realistically treats Kiki's growing pains, as she copes with the twin problems of independence and peer group relations. This accounts, in part, for the film's enthusiastic reception by so many young viewers.

This English-dubbed version, released straight-to-video, benefits from well-cast celebrity voices, including Phil Hartman (as Kiki's wisecracking black cat Jiji) and Debbie Reynolds. The Disney version's only serious flaw is the replacement of the Japanese original's delightful opening and closing songs with new, less catchy English-language ones.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Kiki's character. How does she compare to other characters in animated movies? Do you think she's a role model?

  • What foreign movies have you seen? How do foreign movies compare to those made in Hollywood?

  • What makes a good family movie? What kinds of movies do kids and parents enjoy watching together?

  • What kinds of messages about growing up does this movie send? Can kids relate to Kiki's loss of confidence? What helps her gain back her strength?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 23, 1998
DVD release date:April 15, 2003
Cast:Debbie Reynolds, Kirsten Dunst, Phil Hartman
Director:Hayao Miyazaki
Studio:Buena Vista
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Friendship
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Kiki's Delivery Service was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Written byAnonymous March 13, 2012
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

Very positive role model!

This movie is just about perfect. I especially love how the young girl has a job, takes are of herself, and behaves responsibly - more parents should trust their children this way! Friendships in this movie transcend age groups: a teenage girl befriends preteen Kiki, and adults treat Kiki with true respect as a capable human being. Kiki's family, employer, and friends all have faith in her, which helps give her confidence to grow and make the most of her unique talents. The perilous finale is exciting, not scary, as it's clear the whole time that Kiki will save the day. Finally, for pagan families this movie is a great way to begin conversations about the ethical use of magic, as well as stereotypes about witches vs real witches. An all around feel good movie for school age kids that will cheer even cynical teens and adults. I have shared this movie with friends of all ages and everyone loves it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 7 year old Written byLila Jo May 1, 2011
AGE
4
QUALITY
 
Good humor, good music, good characters, good story, and great animation make this movie very special.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 4 year old Written bychez_geek December 21, 2010
AGE
4
QUALITY
 
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byStepMomSterToo January 11, 2011
AGE
4
QUALITY
 

Great Family Movie

Great family movie. A little slow for the young ones, but still a great story.

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