Can the heart continue to long for something it cannot remember or recognize? This review has a long time coming. I have been wanting to watch your name since I first saw the teaser trailer prior to it’s release. Director Makoto Shinkai is a well-respected director, writer and contemporary of other animated film greats like Hayao Miyazaki. His other well-known works are The Garden of Words, and 5 centimeters per second. He is known for delivering visually stunning, breathtakingly cinematic animated masterpieces combined with masterful story-telling. Your Name most definitely continues that legacy.
The story focuses on the lives of two young people in two very different environments who one day wake up to realize they have switched bodies. Be advised the body-swap element incurs a certain amount of suggestive humor, that is brief but is reintroduced throughout the film. If that bothers you then give the movie a pass.
For those that remain, prepare to experience a vibrant and powerful love story. It grasps effectively the innocence of young love, and yet there is an intangible truth that Your Name echoes in the many still and contemplative moments placed throughout the film. That the heart has a natural inclination to both love and recognize the love of another. This natural inclination can overcome insurmountable, barriers as it searches for the soul it recognizes.
In such a similar way does the love of God pursue our hearts, and in our own imperfect way we spend our lives as Catholics seeking to reciprocate that love. Whether it’s through our professional vocation or the creating of a family. That natural desire to recognize love in others is a powerful attracting force, both in our spiritual lives, and in this film.
If you’re looking for overt Catholic spirituality you won’t find is as Your Name specifically employs traditional Shinto beliefs into the meat of it’s story telling. However, the themes of the film will cause you to meditate deeply on the nature of love, and the spiritual bonds we form with God and those He has placed in our lives.
Another great thing about this film is the soundtrack by RADWIMPS. It is both playful and heartfelt and embellishes the story telling with an even greater emotional impact just when the audience needs it. I could go on about it’s interplay with the visually stunning cinematic art but honestly, it should simply be experienced firsthand.
If I had any criticism for the film it would be that the pacing seems a bit rushed in the first half of the film only to seriously hit the brakes in the second half of the film. There are valid reasons for the change in pace, however, I still feel like the set up for the relationship between the two characters seems a tiny bit rushed. I say that with the caveat of having been spoiled with the long slow romantic build up of most K-Dramas and serial anime shows. Most will probably not even notice it, as there is a lot to take in even with the quick pace of the opening.
You’ll also have to rent it digitally, borrow a copy, or if you’re feeling confident, buy yourself a copy to watch as it’s most definitely not on any of the main streaming websites like Netflix or Hulu.