Monday, April 10, 2017

Movie Review: "Your Name." (2016)

Director: Makoto Shinkai
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 46 minutes
Image Source
A strange phenomenon causes a small-town teenage girl named Mitsuha to switch bodies with a teenage boy named Taki, who lives in the city of Tokyo. The two switch back and forth randomly as days pass, until one day, it suddenly stops occurring. Now, Taki wants to find out why this began and what happened to Mitsuha. 

"Your Name." is a Japanese 2D animated film written and directed by Makoto Shinkai. It follows the lives of a 17-year-old girl named Mitsuha, who lives in a small Japanese rural mountain town, and a teenage boy named Taki, who lives the opposite kind of life in the big city of Tokyo. Mitsuha dreams of one day living in Tokyo and all but curses her life as it is. One day, she wakes up in the body of Taki, and he, in turn, wakes up in hers. The two switch back and forth over an extended period of time, living one life one day and a different life the next. that is, until it stops happening as mysteriously as it began. Now left to wonder happened to this strange girl, Taki heads to Mitsuha's small town to find some answers.

This gorgeously animated, often photo-realistic feature starts off with what feels like a general "Freaky Friday" body swapping comedy concept. We learn about these two teenagers of different genders and different upbringings as they start to mess up and meddle in each other's lives in crazy ways as they act like their usual selves one day, but are completely different the next without any rhyme or reason, much to the shock and surprise of their friends, coworkers, and family members. This film takes the idea beyond the simple notion of "you must learn to walk a mile in another person's shoes and come to an understanding about how happy you are being yourself." It explains how and why girls and boys are supposed to act not just in the whole of Japan, but in Taki and Mitsuha's individual regions as well.

As the movie progresses, it moves beyond the "OH MY GOD, I have boobs!/a penis!" oddball, goofy physical elements into something far more intriguing, fantastical, strange, and amazing. The plot begins to get more dramatic as Taki tries to unravel this mystery about Mitsuha, including where she is and why can he no longer contact her after a certain point. As the drama unfolds, so too does the phenomenal animation in an ever-expanding smorgasbord of tasty visual nuggets. These images aren't just pretty pictures on the screen, they add up to something deeper and more emotionally involving. Finally, there is some truly great music by the group RADWIMPS, whom we are not familiar with, but sure bring a lot of lively tunes to this picture.

"Your Name." is an artistic, rich, profoundly moving, beautiful, heartfelt, tender movie, but at the same time, it is an exciting, freaky, imaginative, fun, and bizarre ride. It's new age and old age, and it has something for everyone. We wish we could say more about this tremendous effort from Makoto Shinkai, but we won't out of fear of spoiling it. We suggest going in knowing as little as possible so you can let the movie transport and transform you with its magical and passionate premise and awesome visuals. If you are a fan of Japanese animation in any way, shape, or form, this is definitely a must see!

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 8.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

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