Weathering With You (2019)
January 16, 2020 9:32 AM - Subscribe

A high-school boy who has run away to Tokyo befriends a girl who appears to be able to manipulate the weather.

Tokyo is currently experiencing rain showers that seem to disrupt the usual pace of everyone living there to no end. Amidst this seemingly eternal downpour arrives the runaway high school student Hodaka Morishima, who struggles to financially support himself—ending up with a job at a small-time publisher. At the same time, the orphaned Hina Amano also strives to find work to sustain herself and her younger brother.

Both fates intertwine when Hodaka attempts to rescue Hina from shady men, deciding to run away together. Subsequently, Hodaka discovers that Hina has a strange yet astounding power: the ability to call out the sun whenever she prays for it. With Tokyo's unusual weather in mind, Hodaka sees the potential of this ability. He suggests that Hina should become a "sunshine girl"—someone who will clear the sky for people when they need it the most.

Things begin looking up for them at first. However, such power always comes with a hefty price...
posted by the legendary esquilax (5 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The animation was, of course, incredible. The way the light and rain played together was beautiful. I loved the concept of a hidden sea in the sky. That said, it’s definitely a weaker film than Your Name. Thematically it’s a bit of a mess, the characters are flatter, and there are elements that are either unnecessary or not established/fleshed-out enough to warrant inclusion.

One big issue is the epilogue. I don't think it was necessary, and I would have liked it to end with them falling back down to earth and Hodaka asking Hina to pray for herself instead. The movie actually seemed like it was ending there, to the point that someone in the audience I was with yelled out "Wait, is it over" when the screen faded to black. The epilogue scenes took away from their decision to essentially doom Tokyo to a watery grave by having them immediately separated again, only to reunite three years later.

Also, I didn't care for the gun mechanism. I thought it was clumsy and almost laughable when Hodaka was pointing it at the officers in the climax and a vocal song starts blasting in the middle of the tension. They could have easily cut the gun thing and just have the cops going after Hodaka because he was reported as missing by his parents (and then because he escaped from custody). Hodaka could have run to the building and been confronted by Suga like it happened in the movie, but instead of Hodaka pulling the gun again, Suga could end up letting Hodaka go to the roof because Hodaka's desperation to save Hina reminds Suga of his own love for his dead wife...which is what happened anyway, just with the unnecessary gun thing.

Speaking of the vocal music cutting in, that’s unfortunately Shinkai's trademark, but I really don’t like it. As much as I liked Your Name, it had the same problem where they put in a vocal song when they really should have just let the scene just play out. The songs immediately kill all tension/emotion the scene has built up. Maybe it's just a cultural thing and using songs in a movie this way is more meaningful to a Japanese audience, but to me doing this in a film makes it feel like a music video which diminishes the impact.

Those issues aside, it’s a generally good film and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It was a joy seeing the characters live their lives and come together, and there were definitely some very emotionally impactful moments.
posted by the legendary esquilax at 9:34 AM on January 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I had to go to some effort to see this film (it didn't open in many cinemas, and I wanted to see it subtitled), but I'm glad I did. Agreed, it wasn't perfect. I would have ended it even earlier - on a note of ambiguity, as he leapt through the gate. And for me, it wasn't just the gun that didn't really suit; I found pretty much all the scenes with the police a bit exasperating, because they felt pitched at a younger audience, as if they'd been patched in from a different film altogether. But the story was engaging, the characters were likable, the animation really was beautiful, and the soundtrack... honestly, I didn't really register the music, because I was listening for the birds and cicadas and the sounds of the city. I lived in Tokyo for a bit, and it seemed as though the filmmakers were paying attention to the same things I used to. Watching the trains go by on their intricate network of tracks, like the world's biggest train set; listening to the crows who think they own the place; admiring the skyline. Definitely heightened the emotional punch for me, in a completely unexpected way.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 1:12 PM on January 30, 2020

Such a beautifully animated film doesn't even need a good story. But this one had a better story than it seemed, at first. Maybe it just reads differently in a post-covid world, but the epilogue absolutely made the movie for me. Coming back to a world that's destroyed, and yet persists. As a teenager the world always seems like it's ending but as an adult you learn that living through disaster always brings a new normal. There were a lot of story elements that didn't pass close inspection yet worked as metaphor. That's what Shinkai's good at, and he's BRILLIANT at it. Between Mamoru Hosoda and Makoto Shinkai, I think it's safe for Hayao Miyazaki to finally stay retired if he wants to.
posted by rikschell at 7:46 PM on August 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Finally got around to watching this. Reasonably good! Not, like, great, but reasonably good! Gorgeous but meandery, so kind of like a post-Laputa Miyazaki movie but with a clear story being told.

Very pretty! Also, a lot of product placement! To the point where it felt jarring the 1% of the time when they actually greeked out a brand name
posted by DoctorFedora at 10:59 PM on January 28, 2022

also man having the singer of Radwimps routinely come in out of nowhere turns every halfway emotionally affecting scene directly into a trailer for the movie you are already watching
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:02 PM on January 28, 2022

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