Your Name (2016)

brooke First off, I want to say that anyone who hasn’t seen Your Name needs to go see it. It’s the kind of movie that deserves to be seen with little or no knowledge of the plot.

casey Japanese animation remains a major blind spot in my film self-education. Is it all as good as Your Name? Anyway, it’s gripping, beautifully animated, and strikingly original in its blend of teen romance, Freaky Friday-esque body switching, and, for good measure, a dash of spiritualism and sci fi.

brooke It’s also one of the most popular movies of all time in Japan. Rumor has it that it is ran in many Japanese theaters for 8 or 9 months straight. I’m surprised that it didn’t clinch a nomination for Best Animated Picture or even Best Foreign Film at the Oscars this year. For us, this movie has kicked off a dive into the world of anime (specifically the Miyazaki films).

casey As you intimated, Your Name is best seen fresh, but in brief it’s about two teenagers, a country girl named Mitsuha (Mone Kamishiraishi) and a city boy named Taki (Ryûnosuke Kamiki), who begin experiencing seemingly random body swaps with each other. Naturally, this leads to a great deal of awkwardness and hilarity, but over time they develop a system of communication that enables them to live in each others’ shoes, and develop a unique kind of affection for each other despite having never met. But one day, the body swapping stops, and when Taki sets out to meet Mitsuha in person he learns that she’s in imminent danger from something neither of them would have expected. And I’ll say no more except that it leads to a climax that’s harrowing, satisfying, and sweet.

brooke Harrowing is right. And it breaks some traditional storytelling rules, giving a sort of 4th act feel to a lot of the later parts.
I loved how Mitsuha and Taki manage to learn a lot about each other through their experience–especially Taki learning about Mitsuha’s inherited spirituality and family traditions. Mitsuha’s grandmother teaches him all about braided cords and how they tie in (ba-dum-CHHHH) to their belief system.

casey Also, as a guy who was once a young teenager full of hormones, I understand Taki’s reaction to suddenly finding himself in a girl’s body (which leads to one of the movie’s funniest running jokes). But for real, it’s hard to convey how great the animation in Your Name is. Even the most mundane scenes are filled with detail and motion, and hand-animated figures are blended with computer-generated backgrounds in a way that’s beautifully stylized and seamless. The fact that the story is captivating and the characters feel authentic is the cherry on top.

brooke I couldn’t agree more. Mitsuha’s village is stunning and every shot of Taki’s hometown Tokyo is similarly captivating. And the last 10 minutes had me on the edge of my seat. Writer/director Makoto Shinkai is brilliant and I’m excited to look into what else he’s done and what he does next.
Really, what else is there to even say about this movie? I’d love to discuss it further with anyone who has seen it, but as for this review, all I can do now is shout at you to get your hands on this one.

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