By Anna

Relying on the kindness of strangers to pursue a passion is an ideal better known to film, and Miyazaki makes it real in his anime fantasy Kiki’s Delivery Service. Miyazaki takes his viewers Euro Oceanside in another coming of age Japanese style animation. Don’t shrug at Miyazaki anime because his writing and direction proves itself again and again with brilliance in quality and content as good story telling, not just a strange kid movie.

Kiki flies away under a full moon as a 13-year-old witch destined to succeed on her own. Accompanied solely by Gigi, her black, skeptical cat, Kiki searches for a passion of her own. Kiki takes flying on a broom for granted until she realizes—with the help of a baker and her husband—that flying is her skill. She begins a delivery service, ascending and descending with the birds, never succeeding on her own, but having to rely on the kindness of strangers.

Though her mother’s final words: “Rely on your heart and keep smiling” and Kiki’s constant new found friendships sound cliché and cheesy, the themes feel right because Miyazaki gives the viewer such real situations to rely. Kiki is happy-go-lucky and nothing gets her down, even a thunderstorm or foibled dirigible can be conquered as long as she follows her passion and keeps smiling.

Though the film was released in 1989, it’s never to late to fall for intelligent “kid” films. Also check out: Spirited Away, and Ponyo.

Quick reviews from the movies I saw this week:

Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon is a highly entertaining interpretive snapshot of the end of President Nixon’s self-sabotaged political life. Sheen (The Queen) wonderfully provides expressions of fear and respect amidst his hostility and passion against Nixon (played by Frank Langella, Superman Returns). But it’s not all success for Frost, after all one man’s failure does not guarantee another man’s success.

Seven Years in Tibet

I love this film every time. It’s a bit long, but worth the slow moving action. The slow form reflects the themes of patience and self-discovery Harrer must conquer in order to ever return home, yet all the while Tibet becomes his home.

The Hangover

Finally seeing this hilarious bit of comedy from last year, I’d say it reaffirms that we must continue to keep our eyes on Galifianakis in the coming decade. Jeong makes a hilarious appearance as well.

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