Review | Weathering with You

5

“Who cares if we don’t see the sun shine ever again? I want you more than any blue sky.”

– Hodaka Morishima

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Summary:

Weathering with You (Tenki no Kofollows Hodaka Morishima, a 16-year-old runaway trying to make it on his own in Tokyo. Meanwhile, orphaned Hina Morishima, also struggles to find work to support her and her brother, Nagi.

The red string of fate unites these two as the create a small business with Hina as a “Sunshine Girl”– someone who has the power to make the  skies clear. And for a short time, their future looks bright. But how long can they hold back the storm? What is the ultimate price of sunshine?

Review: 5/ 5

Characterization: 5/5
All of the characters are likable and realistic. I’m tempted to take off a bit of points for some realism, as I’ll mention below, but ultimately I was really satisfied with the character arcs and progressions.

Plot: 4.5/5
The plot for the most part is easy to follow and paced well. There are a few minor hiccups, but nothing that so blatantly irritating. I have some issues with the ending, but the ultimate story is more gripping and captivating than any other Shinkai film I’ve watched. Yup. You heard me. ANY.

Realism & Authenticity: 5/5
Specifically the concept of family is very authentic in this film. The authenticity is off the charts, putting us firmly in a modern-day Tokyo setting. 

Sound & Animation: 5/5
Top tier sound and animation, as to be expected from a feature film, and as to be expected from Shinkai and Radwimps. Expect phenomenal rain animation as well as emotional orchestral/j-pop pieces.

spoilers below

I want to start off with with an opinion which is bound to get me a lot of hate in the community:

Weathering with You is more enjoyable than Your Name.

I’ve only seen the film once, as I mentioned briefly in my Masterdating post. So maybe there’s the recency bias going on.  And when I saw Your Name  I was kinda vomiting blood all the time and couldn’t maintain consciousness for more hours of the day than not.

And I think because it was so over-hyped for me personally, I was rather let-down with the film as a whole. Thus, my expectations for Weathering with You were much lower, and therefore, easier to reach and surpass.

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Unlike Your Name, I was very choked up. I can’t remember if I cried, but I came very close and was sniffling in the theater by myself. Perhaps this was because of the aforementioned hype: the fact people were telling me I was going to cry buckets up until the time I saw it. And lemme tell you, I didn’t cry during Your Name. I didn’t even find it that sad.

To contrast, Hodaka and Hina’s epiphany and realization felt painfully real, perhaps because I did have to say goodbye to a loved one when I was believed to be dying.

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Weathering with You is about the moments we laugh and cry as the weight or the world presses its palms against our backs.

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The film flirts with magical realism as well if not better than many of its predecessors. It follows two teenagers grappling with horrid “real life” problems while balancing supernatural elements. But the story is one that discusses the painful struggle against our current social systems.

Think about it: Hina is forced to lie about her age in order to stay with her younger brother, Nagi, all because her mother lost a battle with a terminal illness; Hadoka runs away from home and works a job for practically no pay—which is a dressed-up version of modern-day slavery; Hina is almost coerced into prostitution or at minimum, hostessing; Suga battles his mother-in-law for custody over his daughter, whom he only sees when it’s sunny because of her asthma; Natsumi, like so many of us, can’t land a job because God knows why. All of these issues are very real and very representative of what many faced and are facing.

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Because the setting is smaller–we’re dealing with one timeline instead of two– we’re able to understand our setting more clearly. The only magical element we’ve got is Hina’s ability to control the weather as a Sunshine Girl. We could make an argument for the heavenly cloud-space where she’s held captive in the sky, but it’s not really a separate space–it’s more an extension of the current one.

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Yup. Those.

And because the cast is smaller, we’re able to get to know the characters all the more intimately. We learn their struggles closely, and this leads to more profound emotional impact. At times, I struggle with how adult the teenagers are, particularly Hina. Her maturity goes beyond that of even an abnormal adolescent and I would have preferred the writers portray some of her child-like insecurities, rather than just all the concerns being limited to how she will make money, etc. 

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The pacing felt natural and I didn’t mind the time skip at the end. It felt necessary for a film, though what I wouldn’t give to have this as a series so it could really take its time… The plot is easy to follow and the Shinto integration seems to be satisfactory as well.  Ultimately, pretty darn close to full marks on the storytelling side of things.

Do I even have to talk about animation and sound? Both are top-tier as to be expected, so it’s not really a surprise. The rain animation is the best I’ve seen since Garden of Words, and that’s saying something, because that movie is absolutely gorgeous.

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zooooooooom!

Highlights from the soundland are what we expect from Radwimps, and what we expect from a feature film, and I even think they outdid themselves with this one. It blends classical orchestral score with j-pop feels pretty seamlessly.  One of my favorite tracks is “We’ll Be Alright”: it’s lyrics just hit so close to home. At one point they loosely translate it to “I want to turn into your ‘alright’; I want to be ‘alright’. I don’t want you to just be ‘alright’; I want to be the ‘alright’ to you”. You can see the Kan/Rom/English lyrics here:

Another highlight is “Is There Still Anything Love Can Do?” which is honestly this film’s equivalent of “Sparkle”. It’s got that sentimental piano playing which sweet melancholy in the background. Again, You can see the Kan/Rom/English lyrics here:

You can listen to the entire soundtrack on Spotify here.

That’s all for me. I’mma be buying this on bluray when it comes out! Along with the vinyl if we’re lucky enough to get one!

What about you guys? Did you think the film was hot or not? Let me know in the comments below!

Watch on, annieme-niac!

Annie

4 thoughts

  1. Hi Annie, I agree with so much of your post. I was also disappointed by Your Name too, but I loved this film. I very much welcomed the fact that it dealt with the economic hardships of life today, particularly for young people. I thought the scene in the hotel room where they finally manage to eat and have somewhere to stay the night all together like a normal family group was very moving because it showed how little they had normally to be happy apart from each other. However, even in that moment of happiness the girl was changing and they were going to lose her…. I also thought the depiction of the city (I went to see it in giant screen IMAX) against which these lives were lived out was also extraordinary. This also helped make it feel bigger than all his earlier film like 5 Centimetres or Garden of Words. Anyway it was nice to read such an informed and intelligent review of this film as yours.!

    Liked by 1 person

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