Weathering With You is Makoto Shinkai’s first film since his 2017 hit Your Name, which I still need to see. It tells the story of a 16-year-old runaway named Hodaka as he meets and falls in love with a special girl named Hina. They live in Tokyo during a season of constant rainfall. Hina is not a normal girl, as Hodaka finds out quickly, she is a sunshine girl. She has a connection to the sky and can clear up the rain for a brief amount of time simply by praying. The gift of being a sunshine girl comes with some major consequences and Hodaka must act swiftly to save Hina from being taken by the sky.
This movie is best described by a single word: BEAUTIFUL. This beauty starts with the animation style. Weathering With You displays one of the most impressively aesthetic combinations of hand-drawn characters onto CG backgrounds that I have ever seen. There is a scene after Hina clears up the sky from up on top of a skyscraper for a fireworks display, she and Hodaka are sitting on top of the building and the camera just starts panning around the city looking at the fireworks. This animation flex pretty much dropped my jaw to the floor.
Outside of the art style, I story arcs of our lead characters are also beautiful. If you know me very well, you probably know that I am not typically a fan of the modern chick-flick. The relationship that is built of the course of Weathering With You has such an independent innocence to it that makes it almost impossible to avoid getting engulfed in, even if you are a heartless robot like myself. Both Hodaka and Hina have gone through a lot, and are both trying to make it on their own in Tokyo. Hina has the responsibility of her little brother Nagi as well. In the rising moments of this movie, just before the climax, I really started to get feel the connection with these characters. This leads to some pretty intense moments shortly thereafter when her life is in jeopardy.
While this movie isn’t a comedy by any means, there are some good comedic moments scattered throughout, especially with Nagi. Outside of the comedy, it can kind of be a heavy watch. I kind of feel like the rain that pours throughout the entirety of the movie has some psychological effect on the way we absorb it. It felt like a very heavy and emotional watch, which is probably exactly what Shinkai was going for.
The only major problems I have with this movie have to do with the exposition and resolution. There is about 20-30 minutes in the beginning and 10 minutes at the end that are kind of tough to watch. The film first started to grab my attention the first time that Hina opens the skies for Hodaka. Likewise, I think the excitement ends when they return to the top of the abandoned roof at the end. What happens after that is a little bit of a different ending than I was used to. It isn’t a happy or a sad ending really, because the rain is just going to keep falling. The ending does, however, show optimism, as if to say “this is the world we chose, and we are going to make the most of it.”
Like I stated before, Weathering With You is simply a beautiful film. It isn’t perfect, but if you can make a love story that warms even my stone-cold heart, you done well. This story does just that. The start was very slow and the writing relies on shallow convenience a bit too often, but it wasn’t enough to change my emotional response as the credits rolled. When rating movies, I typically consider 9 to represent and an amazing film, 8 a great film, and movies that get a 7 are solid but nothing special. I’ve never given a 10 and anything below 7 means that It is probably not that great. In accordance with that scale, I think 8 is the perfect number for this movie. It is by no means perfect, but Weathering With You is great nonetheless.