“Once you overcome the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
- Bong Joon Ho, Director and Writer of PARASITE
Captivating the audience with its beautiful artwork and expressive soundtrack, Weathering with You illustrates a romantic fantasy set in Tokyo while also exploring real-life ideas such as struggling with identity, learning to accept your gifts, hoping for a better future, and clinging onto the happy but fleeting present. Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai, best known for his previous film Your Name, the highest-grossing anime film of all time at the time of release, Weathering with You connects aspects with its predecessor while also elaborating on a new, fascinating aspect of the fantasy genre. With timing being the one major issue consistently throughout the film, the film overall was extremely enjoyable and entertaining even if the story is told not in our native English but Japanese.
When sixteen-year-old Hodaka runs away from home to Tokyo in search of personal freedom, a heavy rainstorm occurs on his ferry ride there, almost throwing him overboard. He, however, was rescued by Keisuke Suga, a writer for his small company, who gives Hodaka his business card to be used when he needs assistance. After several unsuccessful attempts at living independently in Tokyo, Hodaka decides to call Suga who then gives him a job at his company. Before this, Hodaka, sitting at a McDonald’s, is given a burger by one of the employees who turns out to be our other protagonist, Amano Hina. While working under Suga and suffering under strange and extreme weather, Hodaka hears about a girl who could bring sunshine and end storms by simply praying. This girl, the “sunshine girl,” turns out to be none other than Hina.
With the two protagonists creating their own business to clear the sky for special occasions, this arrangement seems perfect in the short term and long term. But at what cost? The chaotic weather is not normal, but neither is Hina’s ability. Occurring simultaneously with the two’s successful business, the Tokyo police get involved when they see Hodaka with a firearm and realize he is a runaway. What is the connection between the two elements, if there even is one? Are all these scenarios simply occurring by chance, or were they fate chosen by some higher being?
IMAGES from WEATHERING WITH YOU (GKIDS)
The main issue I had with this film, despite its mostly successful execution, was the timing of the soundtrack. The soundtrack itself was beautiful and enjoyable even for someone who is not a native Japanese speaker. However, there were many instances where there could be a very intense, climactic scene but suddenly the appropriate silence is ruined by somewhat upbeat music. While looking at the subtitled lyrics, I could see why the lyrics could make sense in context, but the overall sound of the soundtrack at certain points heavily contracted the images produced on the screen.
Overall, this film is one of my personal favorites and that seems to be the overwhelming consensus for viewers who have already seen the film. Shinkai beautifully delivers an intense story not with just words alone but rather with the incorporation of successful visual storytelling. The soundtrack, though awkward at certain instances, blended with the plot and was developed with time, precision, and effort. Weathering with You is a film that reaches and propels its audience regardless of the language barrier, and its contents give the audience something to think about and ponder upon.
GKIDS and Fathom Events proudly present nationwide special fan preview screenings, on January 15 and 16, of the highly-anticipated new film, “Weathering With You,” from director Makoto Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura, the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed, global smash hit “Your Name.” GKIDS will also release the film theatrically nationwide on Friday, January 17.
The summer of his high school freshman year, Hodaka runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo, and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day, as if to suggest his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky…
The fan preview screenings of “Weathering With You” will run in movie theaters nationwide on Wednesday, January 15 and Thursday, January 16. English-dubbed versions of the film will begin at 7:00 p.m. local time and subtitled versions will begin at 8:00 p.m. local time. The fan preview screenings will also feature an exclusive video interview with director Makoto Shinkai.
GKIDS will release the film in Atlanta on January 17 at The Plaza (1049 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA 30306), as well as additional theaters throughout the Atlanta area. A full theater listing can be found at WeatheringWithYouMovie.com.