Your Name (2016)

YourName

About 2/3rds genius and 1/3rd melodramatic, but the brilliant stuff is so brilliant, it’s easy to dismiss the rest. Fantastic, original story that asks and answers and surprises at every turn, and such astounding visuals, stuff that gets burned into your brain long after you’ve watched it. And a perfect ending, one of the best I’ve ever seen. Hand in glove perfect.

Two scenes in particular have stuck with me: the one with the lead girl, Mitsuha, in the field looking up at the asteroid as a chunk of it breaks off, a moment later revealed to be incredibly important to the story and the first real clue that there’s more to this movie than meets the eye, a storytelling brilliance that goes well beyond the simple body switching story we’ve watched thus far. And the second was the wacky dream sequence after Taki, the male lead, drinks Mitsuha’s sake, which is hard to put into words but is so damn visually poetic and brilliant, with the asteroid spilling drops of water on a globe-like map of Japan. Pure filmmaking genius. Just great.

This film is spellbinding. A must watch. Yes, there’s some goofy stuff, like the music video sequences, all 80 of them, and the romance is fluffy and over the top, like a soap opera, but eh, small potatoes, I say. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen in years. It’s everything that’s great about anime, and why I prefer it in some ways as a visual storytelling tool than live action. Just incredible.

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  1. I loved this movie, too! I think the goofy stuff makes the film that much better. Shinkai has always been so serious, and while that seriousness aids in exploring his favorite themes (ex. distance), they also cut the heart of out his work, so that you’re left with something that’s beautiful and thoughtful, but cold. He conquered that problem with Your Name, and the result is AMAZING.

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