Sunday, December 22, 2019

Movie with Abe: Weathering with You

Weathering with You
Directed by Makoto Shinkai
To Be Released January 17, 2020

It’s possible to predict the weather, but not to control it, though that doesn’t stop some people from trying. Climate change advocates takes note of worrisome weather patterns to argue that we have to take an active role in saving our planet, while others attribute unexpected storms and unseasonal temperatures to nature merely taking its course. The idea of being able to turn rain into sunshine is a powerful concept, though it’s one usually reserved for science fiction or fantasy, with a little bit of magic and a whole lot of belief as the best ways to perceive such a possibility.

Hodaka (Kotaro Daigo) is a high school student who runs away from home to see the big city of Tokyo. When he arrives, he has difficulty finding work, but is eventually hired by a man he meets on the boat, Suga (Shun Oguri). As he helps Natsumi (Tsubasa Honda) investigate explanations for the wild weather Tokyo is experiencing, Hodaka meets Hina (Nana Mori), who possesses an unexplained power to pray for the rain to stop and create sunshine. The two form a business together where they provide a relief from the rain for those wishing to pay, which thrives until they have to face the reality that this miracle work can’t be sustained forever or without consequences.

This anime film, which serves as Japan’s official Oscar entry for Best International Feature in addition to being eligible in the Best Animated Feature category, expresses a wondrous imagination in its presentation of this story. Hina’s abilities are simple yet extraordinarily powerful, and Hodaka is wowed by the ease with which she is able to literally make the sun shine. Hodaka, whose reasons for leaving home are never fully explained, is living in a fantasy world of sorts, getting to experience Tokyo at such a young age while conducting a business based entirely on something supernatural.

This film follows other Japanese hits like “The Wind Rises” in gloriously using animation to tell a creative story, one whose colors dance all over the screen and which surely wouldn’t be anywhere near as compelling if filmed in live action. The characters are complex, and this film is appropriately being distributed in the United States by GKIDS, a studio known for bringing excellent independent animated films such as “My Life as a Zucchini” and “Mirai” to American audiences. It may not be entirely suitable for children, but this film has plenty of value as a rich love story to be appreciated by all ages.


No comments: