This is a simply stunningly beautiful film – on all levels.
Visually, it is hugely ambitious, wonderfully-observed and brilliantly executed (even better than Studio Ghibli in my view!). As a story, it’s emotionally-charged (and funny!), thought-provoking and cleverly mixes contemporary and traditional elements.
It’s a complicated film about two teenagers who haven’t met, but who find their lives intertwined after the arrival of the first visible comet for a thousand years approaches Japan. I have to admit that there were parts that I didn’t fully understand or appreciate (I think I need to see it again!). Mitsuha lives in a rural area and longs to leave; meanwhile, Taki is at school in Tokyo (and he’s a part-time waiter). They begin to dream about each other, imagining that, somehow, they’ve exchanged bodies and are living in parallel lives. Their spirits appear to swap back and forth at random, facilitating the need for smartphone messages to keep each other abreast of their oddly intimate adventures. And this is all set against darker background of a multi-coloured, threatening sky which is about to fall on them.
I’ve just read Mark Kermode’s review of the film in The Observer (he gave it a 5 star review!). He concluded it thus: “Like the stories they tell, these moving pictures are a fusion of the ancient and modern. ‘Treasure the experience,’ Mitsuha’s grandmother tells her sagely. ‘Dreams fade away after you wake up.’ Not so this splendid movie, which will leave audiences in a heady reverie long after its mysterious light has faded from the screen”.I would say ‘Amen’ to that! You need to see it.