[WARNING: This review may contain VERY MINOR SPOILERS!]
Ventured out to IFC Center to catch a screening of Weathering with You, yet another romantic melodrama with a paranormal twist from Japanese director Makoto Shinkai.
While the film is neither as thematically dense nor as tonally bittersweet as the animator’s previous efforts (not even Children Who Chase Lost Voices, his homage to Studio Ghibli, was this heartwarming, wholesome, and optimistic), it does feature his most compelling exercise in world-building to date. The relationship between the natural and supernatural is deliciously complex: the fantastical elements enrich the lives of our young protagonists, a pair of teenaged runaways struggling to eke out an independent existence in Tokyo (the jaded denizens of which alternate between being apathetic and outright hostile to their plight)… until mundane forces intrude upon their newfound happiness, dragging them back down to reality. You can’t resolve every conflict with an upbeat attitude and an anguished declaration of love; eventually, you’ll have to confront the consequences of your actions.
Although that synopsis sounds a bit dark and depressing on paper, the movie is ultimately a passionate refutation of nihilism and defeatism. Planet Earth may very well be utterly indifferent to the human beings residing on its surface—all the more reason, Shinkai argues, to cherish what little time we have, work towards a brighter future, and find new ways to adapt, persevere, and thrive.