It’s been a very long time since I’ve had the experience of walking out of a theatre and wanting, intensely, to walk straight back in and to watch the movie that I had just finished, one more time. Weathering with You was yet another entry in Makoto Shinkai’s repertoire that blew me away in ways totally different from his previous works. Where Your Name sought to portray the emotions of a country at a time of intense grief and disaster, Weathering with You painted a picture of the uncertainty and unease of a generation – our generation. I’ve written once before about the distance I felt from the events of Tohoku in 2011 and how Your Name tried to bridge that gap, but this movie felt just so much closer. Almost painfully so.
I enjoyed the heck out of this movie for a lot of reasons: various character threads and one-off lines resonated with me very strongly and of course, its portrayal of the modern times, even more so. And yet, there was one thing that was gnawing at me through the long bus ride home from the theatre and in the days that followed that first viewing of mine. It was the final line of the movie and the supposed takeaway message of the film: “I think everything will be okay!”
For a movie that’s reflective of a time where solutions are not easy, especially for the very specific problem referenced in the film itself, this concluding assurance for the future just felt a little bit off. How could it so easily say that things will work out just fine? It took an embarrassingly long while of mulling it over and one additional viewing of the movie before I finally came to some conclusion as to what the intentions behind this final line might’ve been.
And, in a few words, I think it was something like a bluff.
Weathering with You is set in a city where rain is a certainty. This Tokyo is the intersection of many lives, all with wants, dreams, and aspirations for the future. But these are all things that can be dyed gray in the hazy dreariness of a long time without ‘sun’. For our young protagonist Hodaka, this city was suffocating. That is until he found a literal break in the clouds in Hina. People are, as described by Hodaka in the glorious montage of the first act, inclined towards sunshine. Sunny days make us happier, more active, and more hopeful. It’s for this reason that their sunshine girl business booms.
From the young in Nagi and his classmates to the budding adults in Hina and Hodaka, in the necessitated responsibility of Suga and Natsumi, and the worry for the future in the elderly. All lines met in a desire for a brighter tomorrow or just a sign of positive change in their ever-present gray skies. And where this responsibility fell was on our young protagonists.
Hodaka and Hina’s story is one of a generation that wished to find a reason for their existence. And in such a world, this came together as a desire to make meaningful change, regardless of the price. Sacrifice, of one’s time, dreams, or health to further this reason, was natural. It’s just something we have to do.
Hina had found this very thing and in succeeding in changing the world, she lost all that she loved along the way. Luckily though, this was not the end of the story. The pair took back what she gave up and the world returned to its original trajectory. It was a rejection of the role imposed on her as the sole savior of the world and yet at the end of the film, we find Hina praying once again for the skies to clear.
And this is perhaps where the movie’s final line was aimed at. It’s a message to the young to take a moment to experience their youth like Hina had been lacking and then, when ready and willing, give back. Unsubstantiated and perhaps a little naive, this line is a hopeful but unsteady reassurance of tomorrow from those just a couple steps further down the road. Words of encouragement, one might say, with an optimism far removed from the hopelessness that grays our city skies.
Or at least it seems to me.
But of course, I could be totally off here and even then, this final message may also still ring hollow for some. Do let me know though if any of this makes any sense to anybody. As an aside, I can’t quite be certain how much Shinkai had a hand in the translation of the title for the movie but having spent far too much time thinking about it in this context, I can’t help but feel that “Weathering with You” fits just perfectly.
Thanks for reading,