A Storm Worth Weathering
Review: Weathering With You
The follow up to one of the most successful anime films in history has prayer as a central theme.
Much like Your Name, Weathering With You is better experienced than understood. While its plot is at points contrived and hard to follow, it is a charming film with emotional highs and lows.
Weathering With You centres on Hodaka Morishima, a runaway who leaves his isolated island home for Tokyo in order to escape. Finding himself lost and without money, he takes on a job writing for an occult magazine company. When writing an article about a Sunshine girl, a mythical young woman who can stop the rain, Hodaka meets Hina, who can do this feat by praying. Putting this into action, the two quickly make a good deal of money by stopping rain on request, but find themselves up against a whole lot of sudden bad weather. Making matters worse, they find out that a Sunshine girl must ultimately sacrifice her own life to prevent calamitous weather.
The film has an impressive recreation of Tokyo. The little details, including bird sounds, drink machines, and recreated buildings gives it an authentic sense of place that a lot of live action films lack. The combination of CGI and traditional animation works beautifully. From skyward shots, to images of flooded Tokyo, it is constantly visually arresting.
In keeping with the previous film, Weathering With You also has an amazing Japanese soundtrack which manages to further so much of the emotional oomph that the film provides.
While Weathering With You does not quite hit the lofty heights reached by Your Name(a task that was always going to be difficult), the film is a moving, wistful experience that is worth taking time out to go see.
While Insights saw the subtitled version with the original Japanese audio, a dubbed version is also now playing, and viewers have the option to decide between these.
Much like Japan itself, Weathering With You is influenced by Shinto, Buddist, and Christian beliefs. Its narrative regarding prayer is one that has broader appeal and that should stimulate much discussion about what the power and purpose of prayer is.
In a time when climate change makes the subject matter of crazy weather one that is ever relevant, it should be noted that prayer itself is not enough, when God so often calls us to act. Prayer, then, is necessary but not all that is needed in our time. Weathering With You should therefore be watched, and its theme of prayer considered…before taking action on climate change.
Weathering With You is rated PG and is now playing in cinemas
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor