So the movie I ended up going with last night was the smash hit anime from a couple of years ago, Your Name.
I am well aware that I'm late to the party on this one as it was huge when it was first released. If I'm not mistaken it is the highest grossing movie of all time in Japan and is one of the most prolific cross over hits as well as it did very well in the US, especially for a non Disney-backed Studio Ghibli film.
I've been meaning to watch it for ages now, hell I started it on two separate occasions but only got five minutes or so in before I either stopped watching as I wasn't giving it the attention it deserved or I had to go and do something else.
Despite all the attention it received in the film community, I'm sure there are still a ton of people who haven't even heard of it, let alone seen it. Well now is your chance, in the UK it is currently on Prime Video and I am pretty sure it is available on at least one streaming platform in the states too. If you're reading this site because you enjoy my writing or at least the same sorts of things as I do I think you'll enjoy it.
Without giving anything away, and there are some big spoilers, the film is basically a coming of age love story between two high school kids who have never met.
Taki is a happy go lucky guy from Tokyo. He spends his days with his friends and working part time at a restaurant where he has a crush on a colleague.
Mitsuha lives in Itomori, a rural town. She is frustrated with her life and wishes to move to the city. She has a couple of close friends but the closest thing they have to nightlife is a vending machine at a bus stop.
The film opens with the two characters waking up in each others bodies and having to live their lives. They seem to switch ever few days and only change back when they're both asleep.
It is a pretty standard body swap comedy for the first part of the movie. Taki and Mitsuha start leaving each other notes in order to help themselves and each other from ruining each others lives. They develop a friendship which is beginning to grow into something more when suddenly the body swapping stops one day out of the blue.
From this point on, until we discover the reason why we follow one of the characters for a prolonged second act and then in the final part of the film we predominantly follow the other.
It's an interesting dynamic and not structured how a typical western movie would be but it works extremely well. The mystery of why the sudden stop is exciting and you're kept guessing the whole time and then in the finally it is a race against time itself... but I can't say any more. I fear that I've given away too much already.
There is a lot here for everyone. At the heart of it is a really sweet love story but it is wrapped in some spectacular sci-fi concepts. The film is very funny and never takes itself too seriously, it has a light an whimsical tone that matches the beautiful animation style perfectly. The film looks absolutely stunning.
There are a lot of comparisons I want to make, some are for tone, some are for content. If you like any of these please go check out the rest as they're all amazing. The biggest one for me tonally was the video game Life Is Strange that I've written about extensively. The relationships between characters strikes all the right notes; these are smart kids who are just on the cusp of becoming adults. When they make a stupid mistake you can relate to is as we can all remember making a similar one.
Next up is the comic book Daytripper, the vignette style of the film and the overall pallet reminded me of Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon's ten issue masterpiece. One moment you're laughing the next you're sobbing but always because you can connect to a moment in you're own life. I might have to re-read that series and write about it some time.
The final one is Back To The Future. That is a time travel movie but not a movie about time travel. The science fiction is used as a tool to tell a story and the same is true with Your Name.
I really enjoyed this film and liked branching out to something a little different too. I've been going through Prime Video and Netflix recently adding a bunch of movies to my queue as otherwise I tend to watch an episode or two of a TV show and never make a dent into all the other great content I keep meaning to catch up on.
If you think there is a film I should check out, let me know and I'll put in on my list, and if you check out Your Name based on my recommendation please let me know what you think, I'd love to hear it.