A few months ago when they announced the Oscar nominations for 2017, I was very surprised to see the French film, The Red Turtle, among the nominees for Best Animated Feature. After all, this strange film featured a plot involving a man who falls in love with a woman who used to be a turtle….and has also earned less than a million dollars at the box office worldwide. At the same time, the Japanese animated film, Your Name., earned over $350,000,000…setting box office records throughout Asia for a Japanese animated movie. It has even earned more than any of the films from the terrific Studio Ghibli….home of the legendary Hayao Miyazaki!
Fortunately, Your Name. is now playing in select markets throughout the United States and I was in Philadelphia this week….where I jumped at a chance to finally see this record-breaking yet inexplicably snubbed movie. If it’s playing near you, I suggest you consider also seeing this lovely and rather adult picture. Now when I say ‘rather adult’, I do not mean it has any objectionable content. However, parents should understand that just because it is a cartoon does not mean that younger children should see it. They simply could not be expected to follow the plot, as the film is complex and clearly designed for teens and adults.
As to the story, for some time it’s a tad confusing….and that’s okay as it will eventually all come together. It seems that Mitsuha and Taki are somehow psychically linked. When Taki goes to sleep, he finds himself as Mitsuha….which is a bit embarrassing for him since he is a teenage guy and Mitsuha is a teenage girl! But why….why is he experiencing Mitsuha’s life? And, the strange part is that he soon learns that what he’s experiencing happened several years ago!! And what does a comet have to do with this as well? How can Taki’s strange dreams possibly save Mitusha and her small village? I’d say more, but don’t want to reveal too much about the story.
The quality of this film is very, very nice. I would not say that the animation is quite as good as a typical Ghibli picture, but it is close. But what makes this a delightful film are that it never tries to be cute or formulaic….it’s a wholly unique viewing experience. It also is very well written and kept my interest…even though I was suffering jetlag! I saw the film in Japanese with subtitles, though the theater and many others are showing an English dubbed version as well. So, in this case, I actually had the choice which I wanted to see…which was very unusual.