Your Name ( 君の名は。) is the best movie I’ve watched all year. And I don’t have to watch Moana or Fantastic Beasts to know that this is the best one I’ll watch before the end of 2016. I didn’t think it would be popular, but the theatre I watched it at (a small one at Eng Wah at Clementi) was somehow well-populated on a weeknight. Obviously the buzz has been low key spreading.
I’m not going to discuss plot or themes, because you’re better off not even getting a hint of them. I went in not knowing a single thing about this movie (except that it was good), and I’m glad I did. Trust me, all you need to know is the basic premise (and watch the spoiler-free trailer for a sense of how it’s like).
The basic premise (girl and boy body-switching) is a familiar trope handled in a novel way; utilised for both humour and pathos. The storyline is just brilliant, unravelling perfectly and introducing every element in its own time. In the hands of any other director, it would be convoluted, maybe confusing. The director weaves a tale that isn’t a Gordian knot, but a cord of beautiful complexity. And there are no obvious plotholes on first watch.
It’s also a Japanese animated movie that reaches Studio Ghibli levels of magnificence, beauty, and detail. The painted backgrounds and animated “time lapses” of urban Tokyo and rural Itomori (where the two characters reside respectively) are gorgeous and create a very cinematic feel for an anime. This is quality; this is the art of moving pictures at the highest level. I cannot stress how beautiful the art of this movie is.
Obviously I’m gushing. I can’t help it. I laughed and cried and I am profoundly changed. This film is fantastic. Go watch it before the run ends.