This Broke My Heart Today

A boy wakes up inside a body that doesn’t belong to him. More importantly, the body he wakes up in is female. The first thing he does is feel up the boobs he knows do not belong to him, because of course.

A girl is smothered by the claustrophobia of  living in a small town where everyone knows each other and there is nowhere to escape to except two small pubs; she decides she would rather be a gorgeous teen boy who lives in Tokyo because presumably, being a boy would make her life so much easier. It’s a funny, spot-on illustration of the perils of adolescence. That kind of understanding of the frustration and the confusion that comes with growing up combined with the ability to bring it to vivid life is rare and should be recognized as often as is possible.

What is it about the Japanese and their ability to wring every last bit of emotion from our unwilling, jaded selves? There’s something about seeing the kind of love, however intangible, that makes you believe in soulmates. There’s something wistful, something hopeful about watching a young man allowing himself to live in suspended, baffled animation, not knowing exactly what he wants and simultaneously knowing exactly what it is, and being unwilling to settle for anything less, even if it takes years. He unashamedly embraces the quest to find the woman of his dreams.  That’s the sort of devotion, the sort of loyalty that a girl would kill for.

To call Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa) a coming of age romance is to undersell it. It’s about so much more than young love.  This is a movie that tries to capture the feeling of waking up in a body you don’t recognize; the feeling of simultaneous dread and wonder at a comet slashing its way through the sky; the feeling of  of waking up after a dream, desperately clutching at threads of memory that are blown away just beyond one’s reach; the longing for foresight instead of hindsight and the powerful drive to avoid disaster and ultimately, the realization that if one tries hard enough, sometimes things just fall into place if they really are meant to be. It’s a lot for a movie to take on. Your Name tries, and, for the most part, succeeds beautifully. Props to Makoto Shinkai, who, through the power of this movie – which happens to be Japan’s biggest hit of 2016 -has  been anointed as the next Hayao Miyazaki; that is, the next great anime master storyteller.

 

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