TL;DR – Beautiful and yet also a bit melancholy. It takes what is a quite tired trope of cinema and breathes new life into it.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Last week I managed to catch a showing of a new anime film Weathering With You. It was beautiful, bittersweet, visually stunning, and emotionally resonate. Well after having such a profound experience with that film I had a look back at director/writer Makoto Shinkai’s filmography and came across Your Name. I had missed it when it can out in cinemas, so I made sure to check it out as soon as I could. Well one week later and what would you know, here it was live on the SBS Movie channel here in Australia and boy was it worth the watch.
So to set the scene, Mitsuha Miyamizu (Mone Kamishiraishi) lives in a quiet village in the mountains of Japan’s Hida region. Itomori is a town with a long history of tradition but also of tragedy with fires destroying much of the town’s history. Mitsuha is a Miko (shrine maiden) in the Shinto temple that her family runs under the watchful hands of her grandmother Hitoha (Etsuko Ichihara). Mitsuha is frustrated with her life and where it is going and dreams of leaving her small town and moving to the big city in Tokyo. Well one day she gets her wish, but when she wakes up in the body of Taki Tachibana (Ryûnosuke Kamiki) a high school boy living in Tokyo, things don’t quite go the way she plans.
Well, the first thing I absolutely have to talk about in the animation in this film, because it is exquisite. One of the things that Makoto Shinkai and his team are really good at is capturing modern Japanese life in all its intricate details. You really feel like you are in Tokyo or up in the mountains and it is all these little details that make it real. It also continues the tradition of spectacular depictions of food. Where you really see this beauty is in the night scenes as the comet comes overhead and through these moments where they move 2d characters through 3d space and have it not look out of place.
In cinema there are these common recurring story plots that get used so often that they almost become mini-genres all to themselves. Indeed, nearly every Science Fiction TV show has done their Groundhog Day homage at some point. One of the more common versions of this is the body-swap. This is when two characters through some kind of incident swap bodies with each other, usually to learn life lessons by looking at the world through another’s eyes. It is one I have seen over and over again, but I have never seen it done quite as well as I have today.
is because the body-swap is not a done and dusted thing until they swap back
after learning their life lesson. Throughout the film the swap in and out of
each other’s bodies meaning that the impacts of what they did are felt in the
narrative. This ripples out into their worlds and impacts on their friends and
family. This is such a better way of telling this type of story because it
keeps shifting the perspective. As well as this, it allows you to focus on the
juxtapositions between the two characters, between the small town and big city
lives. All of this helps you get invested in the characters and their lives,
well before the big third act swerve that sends the film into feels territory
very quickly. Unfortunately, while there are a lot of really important and
empowering moments in the film, there are also those moments that come off more
than a little creepy which was something I also noticed in Weathering With You.
In the end, do we recommend Your Name? Yes, yes we do. The animation is beautiful, the story is powerful, and it is delving into a world that we don’t normally see with Shintoism. Not everything in the film works, but in those moments when it needs to rally it does so in spades.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
Have you watched Your Name?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of Your Name
Directed by – Makoto Shinkai
Screenplay by – Makoto Shinkai
Music by – Radwimps
Cinematography by – Makoto Shinkai
Edited by – Makoto Shinkai
Production/Distribution Companies – CoMix Wave Films, Toho & Madman.
Japanese Cast – Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryô Narita, Aoi Yûki, Nobunaga Shimazaki, Kaito Ishikawa, Kanon Tani, Masaki Terasoma, Sayaka Ôhara, Kazuhiko Inoue, Chafûrin & Kana Hanazawa
English Cast – Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh, Laura Post, Glynis Ellis, Kyle Hebert, Cassandra Morris, Ben Pronsky, Ray Chase, Catie Harvey, Scott Williams, Michelle Ruff & Katy Vaughn
Rating – Australia: PG; Canada: PG; Germany: 6; New Zealand: PG; United Kingdom: 12A; United States: PG