Weather With You (2020) Review, Summary

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“Weathering With You” like “Your Name.” plays with your emotions, skips certain details, but is ultimately worth the price to see.


Director(s) Makoto Shinkai
Screenplay By Makoto Shinkai
Date Released (Fathom Events) 1/15/2020
Genre(s) Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Animation
Duration 1 Hour, 54 Minutes
Noted Cast (Dub Cast)
Hodaka Brandon Engman
Hina Ashley Boettcher
Keisuke Lee Pace
Moka Lexie Foley
Nagi Emeka Guindo
Natsumi Alison Brie

This content contains pertinent spoilers.

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“Weathering With You” Plot Summary/ Review (Ending Spoilers on 2nd Page)

Hodaka runs away from home to chase a light – a light that brings him to Hina. Someone who has just experienced a recent tragedy that is life-altering and makes it seem the rain overhead, and darkness the clouds brings, are very fitting for her mood. But, she too sees a light and ventures to where it lands on the top of a condemned building. It is there when she finds herself praying at a small shrine and finding herself becoming a sunshine girl.

Now, what is a sunshine girl? Well, it means when Hina prays, the rain that has lasted over Tokyo for over 2 months dissipates. However, when it comes to Hodaka, Hina is less of a sunshine girl because of a mysteriously inherited power and more so for being a light in what he portrays to be a rather dark life. Though, no matter who you ask, there is the vibe he is just being dramatic.

Other Noteworthy Facts, Moments and Commentary

  • Miyamizu and Tachibana, from “Your Name.” make cameo appearances.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Why did Hodaka have bruises when the movie started?

Highlights

While You May Not Cry, You’ll Feel The Tears Welling – 85

“Weathering With You” is a very emotional film that deals with loss, mostly in terms of death, and trying to find the little joys which makes it so life can still be worth living. With that in mind, it makes moments like Hodaka’s mentor Keisuke getting to spend time with his daughter, Moka, touching, considering Hodaka’s past. Also, taking note of how hard Hina works to provide for her little brother Nagi, it pulls at your heartstrings.

But, naturally, it is watching Hodaka slowly, but surely, fall in love with Hina, and watching that relationship threatened by people, if not nature, that will have you thinking you are about to full-blown cry. Which you won’t, but you’ll come so close to it that it’ll make you wish they would just push you a little further so you can let the tears drop.

The Various Relationships – 86

Taking it further, what you have to appreciate about “Weathering With You” is how it relationship builds and develops each character by showing them both as individuals, yet also how they are connected. For example, Hodaka runs away from home and bumps into Keisuke, who also ran away from home as a kid, thus explaining why he takes Hodaka in and gives him a place to stay. It is in characters recognizing pieces of themselves in others that pushes your emotional investment and maintains your attention.

Another example, the prime example, is Hodaka and Hina’s relationship. For reasons unknown, Hodaka wasn’t happy at home, so he ran away and went to Tokyo following a ray of light. What he finds though is a girl who is struggling yet, recognizing Hodaka was also struggling, even homeless for a time, she took pity on him. Then, as he returns the favor, and they bond, you start to develop butterflies, await the moment they possibly kiss, and despite being nearly two hours, you are just dumbstruck and feel that you could watch this maybe 10 to 20 minutes longer.

The Comedic Element – 87

What “Weathering With You” does that many shows and films aren’t the best at, is balancing the multiple genres it taps on. Fantasy wise, it presents lore and mythology and uses that to create reasons for beautiful animation. In terms of drama, thanks to dead parents, spouses, and loss, it finds multiple means to show you these people are human, even if not flesh and blood, in the traditional sense. However, while it does well in those genres, and even romance, comedy is seemingly Shinkai, and their team’s, comfort zone.

For whether you are talking about Nagi, Hina’s little brother, who is quite good with elementary school girls, Hodaka being teased or just awkward, if not Keisuki’s niece Natsumi, who is consistently a barrel of laughs, this is a genuinely funny film. One that really pushes this idea that you can present humanity in all of its lows, but never forget that the highs come from sharing a laugh with people you love and who love you. After all, ultimately, that is how you find yourself able to ride the wave.

Criticism

You May Feel Like You Get To Know Everyone But Hodaka – 65

I won’t say you get a full bio of every character in this film, but I will say there are times Hodaka seems like a Trojan Horse meant for us to know people who might be far more interesting than him. As noted, we learn about Hina, her brother, and her life before and after becoming a sunshine girl. When it comes to Keisuke, we meet his daughter, his niece, get to learn about his past, and see his business. Then with Nagi and Natsumi, while they are supporting characters, between Nagi’s luck with girls his age, and his relationship with his sister, he doesn’t feel like a stranger. The same goes for Natsumi. While she is mostly treated as a comical character, through her relationship with her uncle and struggles to find a job, you can truly connect with her.

As for Hodaka? Not so much. His reason for running away and not going home is meek. And despite how much people open up to him, we don’t learn much, if anything, about his parents. We don’t even learn how he fit in, or didn’t, in his hometown. He is just a simple boy in Tokyo who lucked out – simple as that.

Overall

Would Watch Again? – Worth Revisiting

Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

The only thing that holds “Weathering With You” back is that, like many animated movies and shows, it expects so little from its young male lead and gives the audience almost nothing about them. They are simply our medium but, after a certain point, once you get your fill of those they surround themselves with, it is hard not to wonder why this average, sometimes boring, person has such a wild life? Surely it can’t just be luck or being friendly right? What makes them so special or is the whole point that, in a moment’s notice, you can suddenly find yourself in a situation that you’d never expect?

Either way, while Hodaka is a bit of a bruise on the film, it is one easily made up for by strong relationships, a butterfly inducing romance, comedy, and moments that could potentially make you cry. Hence the positive label.

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