Concise Film Critique - Your Name

Concise Film Critique - Your Name

Director: Makoto Shinkai
Writer: Makoto Shinkai (based on his novel), Makoto Shinkai (screenplay)
Released: August 26, 2016 (Japan)

Your Name (Kimi no Na wa.) is a stunning film. From the first few opening shots you will know that you are in for a treat if you like quality animations and beautiful backgrounds, and the glimpses of the main characters we get promise an emotional story — and Your Name definitely delivers on that promise.

What makes the film stand out visually is the scenery, a lot of which is inspired by real life locations. I don’t generally subscribe to the idea that locations in movies can be important characters in and of themselves, but the timelapses of downtown Tokyo, and the closeup shots of the beautiful nature of the Itomori town and its surroundings in Your Name make the locations really come alive.

The music is by RADWIMPS, a band that I’ve been listening to since 2008 (when I lived in Osaka for a year). It is a near perfect mix of instrumental melodies and beautiful ballads, punctuated by a couple of faster rock songs. I’m quite biased, since hearing RADWIMPS in this film was quite the nostalgia trip for me, but I think this strong soundtrack works wonderfully well (and makes you want to stay in your seat when the credits start rolling, just to hear the song to its end).

Concise Film Critique - Your Name Concise Film Critique - Your Name Concise Film Critique - Your Name Concise Film Critique - Your Name

The first third or so of the film is almost a full-on comedy, with a little bit of drama thrown in for good measure, and it does a great job of making us like its characters. When it is time for the story to take a darker, somber turn, we are really invested, we care.

For me, a good movie is one that makes me feel something, and Your Name had me on the edge of tears more than once. It has many funny moments, and its fair share of sad ones, too, but at the end of it all, it has a very hopeful message. On a second viewing, when I knew what to expect, I also noticed how much foreshadowing there is, and how the few (in my opinion, quite brilliant) twists really work well with the rest of the story.

Your Name is definitely Makoto Shinkai’s best film (the second best being, in my opinion, the beautiful Koto no ha no Niwa, a.k.a. The Garden of Words). Your Name works fantastically, on both a technical and an emotional level. I’ve seen it three times so far, and I'm fairly sure I can never get tired of it. And I rarely watch movies more than once.

5/5 ま るで、夢の景色のように、美しい眺めだった。

Jay Marksman, December 10, 2018

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