Your Name (spoilers)

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Based on the novel by Makoto Shinkai, Your Name finally came to my local theater after raking up over 300,000,000 dollars at box offices around the world.   The story centers around two teen-agers, a city boy and a country girl, who begin to swap bodies during the night.

The characters do not, initially, know each other, but as they spend time in each other’s bodies and living each other’s lives, they naturally start to get an understanding of each other, communicating by leaving journal entries, and their lives become intertwined as they bicker, commiserate and become inter-twined with each other’s friends and families.

What emerges is a unique and tearful love story with a bunch of plot twists and reversals that challenge the characters and make the audience suffer as we wait to see how, if ever, these characters will get together.

I found Your Name to be one of the most beautiful animated films I have ever seen, including numerous still shots that inform and fill out the world of these characters, as well as stunning scenes of natural beauty.

Despite my warning, I don’t want to reveal much of the plot of the movie.  I will say this is a film that does not spend a lot of time exploring gender.   Aside from one or two moments, especially when they first wake in bodies of the opposite sex, each character just adapts to the life of the body that they wear.   There is a fascinating story line about the girl’s town that is gradually revealed as the story progresses, and a kind of hazy magic to the proceedings, as we discover that in the girl’s town, body swapping is not all that unusual, and it is taken as a matter of course.

I loved every minute of this film, and I will be buying it on DVD to watch again and again.  It is a very moving and traditional story about love, with very non-traditional sci- fi flurishes.

Bring the tissues!

Your Name (spoilers)

The Assignment (Spoilers)

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First of all, let me say this movie is not so bad.  I have seen the word terrible attached to it many times, but to me I would rate it average as a film in the revenge/payback film noir genre.

The main characters is betrayed.  He then systematically hunts down his betrayer.   Most of that hunting down involves him walking around shooting people without ever being remotely threatened himself or even challenged.  He walks in and shoots.  People die.  There is tension and no struggle.  He shoots.  They die.

There is very little here for fans of TG fiction, especially if you are interested in media that really explores gender identity.  The character is given a forced sex-change, and after initially freaking out when he wakes up to his new face and female body, he just goes right back to acting and dressing the same way as he always did.  He doesn’t seem to really even care all that much, but just throws on some guy clothes and goes back to being a thug.

A few times, he is spoken to in demeaning ways based on his new sex– someone calling him babe or sweetheart, but it seems to have no impact on him at all.   He just shrugs it off like it didn’t happen.  Likewise when he, for no clear reason, decides to dress up in a sexy women’s clothing and heels, even donning a blonde wig.  He acts just like he’d put on his usual leather jacket and hoodie, and doesn’t seem to care at all about how he looks or what it might mean in terms of how he is treated.

In addition, the movie features a framing story where Sigourney Weaver, the doctor who performed the surgery, is being interviewed by Tony Shaloub.  This is mostly just an exercise in lazy writing, with lots of opportunities for exposition dumps and a pointless cat and mouse game where nothing really seems to be at stake.

The motivation for the sex-change is thin and unconvincing, and in the end the biggest problem for me is that I didn’t care about any of the characters.   If anything, the villain Honest John  was more charismatic and likeable than the hero, Frank Kitchen, so I didn’t much care whether he got his or not.

Still and all, I would say it’s an okay movie, the kind you watch on a rainy day.   It’s okay, but just okay.

The Assignment (Spoilers)