“It’s surprising how a human heart can be moved by the weather.”
WEATHERING WITH YOU:
Few months back, over 50,000 fans in India petitioned for the release of Weathering With You. I thank all of those who had signed. It’s because of them this movie is in theatres across major Indian cities. Japanese animated movies have been heavily dominated by Studio Ghibli’s presence which is in fact, one step higher than Pixar when it comes to dealing with the quintessential human aspects. Makoto Shinkai came into limelight through his earlier delightful and lovable movies such as 5 Centimeters Per Second, The Garden Of Word. It was finally in 2016 when his feature film Your Name made it into the international arena and was loved by audience throughout the world and recognized Shinto as a critically loved non-Ghibli director.
In fact,he has an asteroid named after him! Makoto Shinkai movies have recurring elements in his movies such as space, rain, train, station, trees, the whispering voice, sun and a heart-rending story of two souls. Weathering With You would fit into the same format.
Hodako is a teen looking for a job in the scary and expensive megacity Tokyo. Mr. Sugu recruits him for writing the articles which are sold to a magazine. The social media is heavily reflected throughout the film. A new rumour on a sunshine girl is introduced which people find mysterious: the sunshine girl has the capability to change the weather with the magical or mystical powers she possesses. This intrigues Hodako and he explores the scenic Tokyo to discover the truth and at last, he finds the one. It’s not a secret anymore since the story is a bit predictable in the first half. Yes, this girl is the sunshine girl whose prayers can actually turn a rainy weather into sunlight. Hodako soon falls in love with her and both of them chalk out a plan to earn money by fulfilling the wishes of the common man.
When everything was going well, they soon encounter a truth. The backbone of the film hinges on this. On what seemed to be a happy and delighted drama in the first half, was soon flipped into a mysterious and unknown territory. It’s the second half which breathes the elements of love, loss and sacrifice into the movie. There’s no doubt that expressions, the chemistry, the characters and the linking of acts is what drives Shinkai movies. The visuals are simply incredible enough to let one gets grasped by the beauty of Tokyo and the warmth between the characters. Also, the real issues like the impact of social media, especially on millennials and the fallout of changing weather are very much highlighted which should be seen as a caution.
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Intertwined with real emotions comes a fantasy romantic drama which proves Shinkai’s worth once again. Another visually striking, emotional and mesmerizing tale. It may not be at par with Your Name’s success however, it keeps Shinkai’s credibility resilient. But only time will tell if Shinkai would stick to the same formula or not. Weathering With You has already been selected as Japanese entry for 2020 Oscar awards in Best International Feature film which speaks of his art and influence.