I was a little disappointed by Your Name to be honest.
I’m sure a lot of it was the hype though. When I first saw the premise for the film I figured that it would be completely been there done that. However, word spread that it was actually amazing. I told myself to give it the benefit of the doubt, and that expectation rose exponentially over time.
So yeah, it got to the point where I was dying to see this movie. Don’t get me wrong, because I did like it a lot. I like it enough that I want to see it again before it’s out of theaters. However, the fact is that maybe I’m just a little harder on films that reach for the emotional stars but instead land straight into drama territory we’ve seen before.
*I will include nondescript spoilers past this point in the review FYI.*
So, the good thing to start off with is that the body-swap setup is really a McGuffin, and once you get past that the story becomes drastically better. However, this doesn’t excuse the fact that we have to once again watch characters wake up surprised and dumbfounded by the circumstance. The boy of course grabs the boobs when he wakes up in a girl’s body.
Luckily in terms of the writing the characters were built up extremely well, and their love for each other grows naturally considering everything going on. The story at this point becomes much more interesting and the emotion picks up.
Here’s where I get to the biggest issue I had: The ending is a Hollywood ending. I know that I have nihilistic tendencies when it comes to looking at art, but still, the movie seems to promise an extreme emotional resolution… and it does, but it could have really used some balls and went for an ending that was truly tragic. Also important is when two characters meet again at the very end. We have seen this before in anime, manga, and even live action films. It might be easy to forgive because the characters in Your Name are so lovable and the direction is mostly pitch perfect, but it really could have gone for more originality.
Based off of the success for Your Name I’m sure that Mamoru Hosoda is smashing his head against a wall that Shinaki got the lightning strike after Hosoda has so long been considered the next Miyazaki. The thing is, if I was actually viewing this film without knowledge of the creators, I might even say that Hosoda directed it, because it kind of does feel like one of his films focusing on more light hearted characters and tone than we have seen from Shinkai.
Still, this is a great movie as it is and easy to recommend, although I’m still baffled that this has passed up almost all Ghibli films in the box office. And I know people say that it’s not good to look at money in response to a film review but at the same time I feel like it is too inevitable of a question at this point. If you want a good drama with strong emotion then Your Name might be the perfect movie, but don’t expect for the most inventive of plot devices.