‘Weathering with You’ movie review: Animated Japanese film is a warning about climate change disguised as a teen love story

Taina Puddefoot

Director Makoto Shinkai's touching story is about a girl with the power to change the weather – but her gift comes at a cost

Taina Puddefoot |

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Weathering with You is a beautifully animated tale of a runaway boy who meets a girl with an extraordinary, but ultimately devastating, gift.

Written and directed by renowned Japanese filmmaker Makoto Shinkai, the animation features the voice talents of Kotaro Daigo and Nana Mori as the two protagonists. While at face value it make seem like a high school love story, Weathering with You has a deeper, more complex, message about how global warming is affecting our world.

After running away from home, Hodaka Morishima (Daigo) finds himself working at a small media company in Tokyo. A chance meeting with a girl named Hina Amano (Mori) leads him to discover her secret ability: she can make the sun shine whenever she prays to the skies.

Hina soon becomes known as the city’s “sunshine girl”, and she and Hodaka turn her talent into a business, giving the people of Tokyo sunny spells wherever and whenever they need them. The pair also become increasingly infatuated with one another .

Little does Hodaka know, however, that every time Hina prays to the skies for sunshine, parts of her body become transparent – she must sacrifice herself to rid the city of its storms.

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The storyline is simple, but its message is intriguing: Tokyo’s weather issues in the film serve as a stand-in for our current global climate crisis. Shinkai highlights the impact humans have on nature, and while we do not have the luxury of a “Sunshine girl” to provide a temporary fix, we must use the powers we do have at our disposal to enact positive change.

Even viewers who don’t rate the film highly for its entertainment value, will find it hard not to be impressed by its amazing visuals. The artwork is stunning, depicting Tokyo in all its beauty and might.

Weathering with You is a touching and visually impressive animation that highlights the importance of holding onto our connections – with friends, and with nature.

Edited by Charlotte Ames-Ettridge