Your Name.

Your Name. ★★★★★

2016 Films Ranked

Directed by Makoto Shinkai, Your Name is the first anime movie that I’ve had the chance to see in the Cinema mainly due to the limited screening choices in the Cinema at home, so given how highly praised this film has been in the past it was a no brainer that I wasn’t going to pass this up, and it delivered incredibly well, offering not just one of the best movies of the year, but also one of the best animated movies that I’ve ever seen.

Your Name revolves around two teenagers Mitshua and Taki, who live contrasting lives. Mitshua comes from a traditional family in rural Japan who lives with her grandmother while her father, much to her continued embarrassment, runs for Mayor. She longs for the bustling city of Tokyo. On the other hand, you have Taki, a high school student who lives in central Tokyo and works part time at an Italian restaurant. With news that a rare comet is headed over Japan for a once in a lifetime experience, Mitshua and Taki begin to experience dreams of themselves in each other’s bodies, living each other’s lives. Only it turns out that the dream may not be a dream at all.

The animation and artwork is visually stunning and this is one of the best looking animated films in years. The scenery and characters are stunning, leaving an excellent impression on the audience. The characters are well developed and each have their own quirks and personalities that are clearly defined making the body switch interesting because of how different they are. The movie doesn’t go too weird as well, keeping it almost family friendly with some of the jokes that include what you might expect to happen if a boy switched places with a girl. So, whilst the opening part of the movie may be typical as to what you’d expect from a body swap drama it does have its moments of comedy and it actually has heart, taking time to develop characters on both sides of the story that can’t help but feel real.

I should point out that this paragraph has minor spoilers so be sure to bear that in mind. It’s one of those films that is worth going into knowing as little about as possible, so there’s that. I mean, all you need to know is that it’s essential viewing. The second act is where the film kicks up a notch and emerges from good into a classic. It’s excellent, emotional and awe-inspiring with a revelation that I didn’t see coming, and it’s handled so well that it will leave you stunned. Just when you wonder where things could go next everything shocks you, and everything you think you know is pulled out from underneath your feet.

Quirky, charming and amazing, Your Name is a powerful, emotionally investing experience that grabs you by the hook and refuses to let go. Its premise is utilized to the ultimate effect, and the end result is a powerful experience that ranks up as one of my favourite animated movies ever made, and a wonderful experience that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Your Name joins Sing Street, American Honey, Knight of Cups, I, Daniel Blake, The Witch, Green Room and Everybody Wants Some as the best films of 2016. Go see this movie if you get the chance, and hopefully we get more films as good as this from Makoto Shinkai in the future.

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