Movie: Your Name.
My Rating: 4 stars
The premise for this movie sounded so funny. “Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers living separate lives until they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki's body, and he in hers.” A good gender-body-swap comedy is always good for a few easy laughs—especially since the characters are high-school kids. And, this movie does, indeed, serve up some of that low-hanging fruit. (Picture a lot of boob-fondling as the boy, Taki, wakes up in the girl, Mitsuha’s, body). But, this movie is actually a lot more than just a comedy. It develops into something like a melancholy, mystical, cosmic romance by the end. And, it’s something you’ll be on board for by the time the story gets to that point.
The story is a little hard to describe beyond that initial premise because it gets pretty confusing once the initial gags are over. The story is told from the point of view of the two main characters. And, since they’re pretty confused by what’s happening to them, we necessarily are too. Of course, we do have a bit more of an omniscient viewpoint than they do. But, we figure things out at the same rate that they do. Plus, a lot of these metaphysical dramas are written to be a bit “mysterious,” (even though that often just means that the author didn’t feel like explaining stuff or coming up with something that makes sense). But, while there are elements in this movie that I never manage to make sense of myself, it’s executed in such a stylish, beautiful way that I was perfectly willing to accept the more flattering explanation.
The animation in this movie really is gorgeous. It captures the romantic, sentimental view of what life in rural Japan is like (in fictional tales). And, it also depicts the stereotypical character of the fast, anonymous and impersonal life in a busy city. And, I feel that it juxtaposes these two extremes in a way that suggests that neither is the exact truth. It’s very interesting, and it really got me in a very contemplative, philosophical mood while watching it.
I recommend this movie to anyone that’s a fan of sentimental Japanese animated movies. This is a very good example of that genre. So, if you’re going to dip your toe in that water, this is a good place to start. But, if that doesn’t sound like your thing, don’t worry about it. This movie isn’t for you, so you shouldn’t feel bad about skipping it. But, I really loved the movie. If anything, it reminded me of those intense feelings you have as a teenager. And, that’s always an interesting well to dive into.