Note: I watched the movie in Japanese with English subtitles.
Reasons why I believe Christians should give Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989) a chance. (Contains spoilers.)
It is a positive portrayal of family
You don’t have to go far to find examples of Christians lamenting the state of the family in popular culture — lamenting how positive portrayals of an intact family consisting of father, mother, and child are, compared to decades ago, few and far between.
Christians going “Where are all the good families?” will surely be relieved by Kiki’s Delivery Service, with its positive portrayal of Kiki’s family…
…as well as the positive portrayal of the family that gives Kiki a place to live when, following tradition, she leaves home for a year in order to find her purpose in life.
It celebrates hard work and discerning one’s vocation
In Kiki’s Delivery Service, hard work is something to embrace, not avoid at all costs.
And discerning a vocation is something to commit oneself to.
People who don’t discern…
…are seen as snobs.
And people who don’t work…
…are seen as stuck-up and ungrateful.
It is a positive portrayal of the elderly, and Christian living
Let’s compare Madame from Kiki’s Delivery Service to another old woman. An old woman from an explicitly Christian movie: Miss Clara from War Room (2015).
Miss Clara talks the talk…
…but does she walk the walk?
Compared to Madame, I would say “No.”
Madame has qualities that I don’t see in Miss Clara:
Madame makes up for her mistakes. She insists on paying the delivery girl even though there is no delivery to make.
In contrast: I don’t recall Miss Clara making a mistake — having a moment where she realizes “I messed up.”
Madame has a passion. She likes to cook. Her specialty is herring and pumpkin pot pie.
In contrast: Miss Clara’s only passion seems to be her prayer life. Praying, of course, isn’t a bad thing. But: Miss Clara seems to do nothing but pray. And God did not create us to exist only on our knees: He also wants us to be creating, exploring, and learning too.
Madame is willing to take others’ advice. She listens to Kiki when Kiki suggests using her old oven to bake her daughter’s present.
In contrast: Miss Clara gives advice but is never taught anything by Elizabeth Jordan, the woman she is trying to help. Miss Clara is the same at the end of the movie as she was at the beginning: she hasn’t grown as a person. The most growth that Miss Clara could be said to have is that, because of Elizabeth, she buys a smartphone.
Madame uses her skills and passion for the benefit of others. To show Kiki her thanks for all that she has done for her, Madame bakes her cake.
Not everyone can bake a cake.
Despite Miss Clara’s prayers and exhortations, Madame strikes me as the more Christian of the two women. Even though her religious beliefs are never known.
If excellence declares the glory of God, than Kiki’s Delivery Service is singing God’s glory.
Every shot in the movie looks like it’s from a painting:
And the music… sigh
If I had to choose between living in a room at the top of a bakery in the fictional city of Koriko…
…or living in the Jordans’ house…
…I know which one I would pick.
It is explicitly spiritual
You don’t have to go far to find Christians lamenting the secularization of society. Which is why Christians should appreciate the spirituality evident in Kiki’s Delivery Service:
“We fly with our spirit.”
“That’s what I’m talking about! Trusting your spirit. The spirit that drives your friend to bake, me to paint, and you to fly, is the same spirit. Maybe the spirit comes from God.”
When I was little, God was there and wonderfully granted my dream.
On mornings when I wake up with kindly feelings, even though I’ve grown up, miracles happen!
Opening the curtain, tranquil sunlight filtering through the trees.
If it envelopes me in tenderness, surely everything reflected in my eyes will be a message.
When I was little, God was there and every day he delivered love.
Inside my heart, I had forgotten my precious box of good memories.
The time to open it is now.
~An English translation of “If I’ve Been Enveloped In Tenderness”
In the world of Kiki’s Delivery Service, witches’ powers come from God, not Satan.
What’s wrong with taking something and reimagining it? Christians do it all the time.
For example: When it comes to Rock music, Christians went from this…
And: C.S. Lewis frequently reimagined Pagan spirituality. For example: River gods (like the one in Prince Caspian) were ultimately subservient to Aslan.
Why can’t the same be done with witches?
If you’re a Christian who is lamenting that there is very little you feel comfortable showing to your kids, show them Kiki’s Delivery Service.