Movie ReviewsYour Name – An Original Animated Film

Keith NoakesApril 8, 2017

I have heard so many good things about this film which made the wait unbearable but it’s finally here for me to watch.

Synopsis: On the night of a beautiful meteor shower, two strangers — a male high-school student in Tokyo, and a bored teenage girl living in rural Japan — discover that they can switch bodies in their sleep when they share the same dream. Now, they must find each other before time runs out, all while learning lessons about what it’s like to live as another person. (Rovi)

Starring: Ryûnosuke Kamiki, Mone Kamishiraishi, Ryô Narita

Writer: Makoto Shinkai

Director: Makoto Shinkai

Rating: PG

Running Time: 106mins


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Animated film or not, stories like this don’t come along often which was probably why this film was a hit when it was originally released. There have been many body-switching films but they’ve always felt a little too gimmicky but that wasn’t the case here. A pair of high school students named Taki (Kamiki) and Mitsuha (Kamishiraishi) who somehow discover that they can switch bodies in their sleep when they share the same dream.

They obviously didn’t know at first what was going on as they sporadically kept waking up as each other. Their memories as the other faded quickly as their experiences felt like dreams to them. The longer they went, the more they realised that these were not dreams and that this was very real. They were confused but the people in each of their lives were just as confused as they were. To survive, they had to learn about each other’s lives but they were two different people so they lived each other’s lives differently.

Coming to terms with what was happening to them, they started to leave messages to one another. They also decided to help each other in their lives where Mitsuha would help Taki build a relationship with his co-worker Miki (Masami Nagasawa) and Taki would help Mitsuha be popular at school. We also learn that a comet is oncoming and would pass by Earth on the day of her town’s festival.

Instead of letting it linger, we learn the film’s big twist pretty early on but the hints were there. After a failed date, he tries to seek out Mitsuha but can’t seem to remember the name of her town and his memories of it were fading. Taki eventually learned that Mitsuha had died three years earlier after a piece of that very comet destroyed her town. He then seeked out Mitsuha’s family shrine, drinking some kuchikamizake to take control of her body one last time in the hopes of saving her town from the comet.

They finally meet but their attempts to try and remember each other failed. The comet still destroyed Mitsuha’s town but she managed to save everyone, including herself, this time. When the film caught up with them five years later, their memories of each other faded until they managed to run into each other. They each recognized each other, thinking that they’ve seen the other before . They each ask for each other’s names (hence the title).

Stories like this don’t come around very often and that was the best part of this film. It may appear complicated at first but it gets better once more is revealed. Thanks to its many twists and turns, it was hard to tell where it was going and that was a good thing. It was a story of self-discovery involving two people who spent a lot of time together without knowing one another. The story touched many genres and themes, seamlessly weaving between each of them but not forgetting the main point which was the relationship between the two main characters.

Instead of being the told a story, the film made you feel like you were part of one thanks to its excellent animation (almost Studio Ghibli like). It featured a bright, colorful, detailed characters within a living and breathing world. Breathtaking cinematography created the illusion of 3D without really being in 3D. The voice acting was great as well, giving more than enough emotion to the characters during the proceedings.

Overall, this was an amazing animated film with an original, engaging story with excellent animation and voice acting. Because of the story, it’s a film to watch multiple times just to pick up all of its intricacies.

Score: 9.5/10

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    April 8, 2017 at 1:49 PM

    Yes! I loved this movie too. It was my #2 film of the year last year (which had a ton of awesome movies). I’m glad you found it and are spreading the love. Good review too. I like how you sum up your feelings at the end, but wish you kept the story under wraps for those that haven’t seen it (then again, I say this about all reviewers who focus on telling the movie’s plot for several paragraphs. Just my pet peeve). This movie is so full of surprises and shifts in tone even that it is in a league all its own. I did NOT expect to love ‘YOUR NAME’ so much. It was extremely impressive.

    • Keith Noakes

      April 8, 2017 at 1:52 PM

      I try not too but it’s sometimes hard to explain what you’re trying to say without some context.

      • SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

        April 8, 2017 at 2:04 PM

        Oh yes. Fair enough. You can also tease those who haven’t seen it, while speaking in ‘code’ to those that have. No worries, Keith. Just my 2 cents.

        For me, I like reading reviews to get opinions. For this, I wanted to know what you dug – since I dug it too. 😉

        I understand the need for context. Ebert recapped plot too… and he’s the king! He also wrote essays about the films which had probably 2/3 opinion, 1/3 plot. This is a good ratio if you are thinking of the craft side of the hobby.

        Most importantly, good review of a good movie!

    • Keith Noakes

      April 8, 2017 at 1:54 PM

      It was released in Ottawa this weekend and the showing I saw was packed.

      • SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

        April 8, 2017 at 2:05 PM

        Right on! I forgot you lived in Ottawa too. I watched it online a few months ago. Thanks for reminding me about it though. I’m gonna order the bluray on Amazon 😉

      • SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

        April 8, 2017 at 2:05 PM

        Did it play downtown? Bytowne/Mayfair?

      • Keith Noakes

        April 8, 2017 at 2:06 PM

        Silvercity and Landmark Kanata.

      • SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

        April 8, 2017 at 2:08 PM

        Wow. So the megaplexes. Nice.

        Digression: I was part of the first crew that opened Silvercity when Phantom Menace debuted back in the day. One of the best jobs ever!! I even got to be movie announcer guy in front. That was fun when I announced Jim Carrey’s Man on the Moon… and Tom Green was there, staring me down in the spotlight as I imitated Andy Kaufman and welcomed them all to ‘my movie’.

      • Keith Noakes

        April 8, 2017 at 2:10 PM

        Wow indeed! Sounds like you’ve had quite the life.

      • SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

        April 8, 2017 at 2:12 PM

        That was a post high-school job. I’ve probably got some years on you, Keith 😉 Perfect job for a movie nerd though… and a big joker like me. At the time, free movies were a totally awesome benefit too.

      • Keith Noakes

        April 8, 2017 at 2:14 PM

        I could only imagine. I’m starting to get more and more doing this and they definitely come in handy.

      • Keith Noakes

        April 8, 2017 at 2:17 PM

        Make it so!

      • SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

        April 8, 2017 at 2:25 PM

        Hehehehe… By the way, here’s a review example of mine. Not like I’m comparing myself to Ebert here, but it’s an example of low-plot, high-opinion ratio, if you feel encouraged to see one possible way to limit plot. I linked to Rogue One which just hit bluray so you may wanna read it anyways 😉 All the best, Keith. From one Ottawa movie nerd to another.

      • Keith Noakes

        April 8, 2017 at 2:08 PM

        I saw it at Silvercity because I was at a press screening at the Bytowne beforehand.

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