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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Your Name is an animated Japanese romance (dubbed in English) about two teens -- one a city boy, the other a small-town girl -- who intermittently wake up in each other's bodies. The movie is part sci-fi/fantasy and part romance and is best suited for mature tweens and teens. Although it's animated, the themes and storyline aren't going to appeal to younger audiences, who may not be ready for some of the issues related to waking up in a different body. There are several scenes of Mitsuha touching "his" breasts when he wakes up in Taki's body, and the first time Taki wakes up as Mitsuha, "she" inspects his parts as well. An older teen smokes, adults drink at a gathering, and there's occasional insulting language like "shut up," "stupid," and "pervert." At the same time, themes include compassion, curiosity, and empathy, and there's a clear message about what it really means to fall in love with someone.
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What's the story?
YOUR NAME follows two Japanese teens -- big-city boy Taki (Michael Sinterniklaas) and rural girl Mitsuha (Stephanie Sheh) -- who mysteriously wake up one morning in each other's bodies. Mitsuha has dreams of life beyond her provincial town and wishes to be a handsome Tokyo boy, and she seems to get her wish. At first she thinks it's just a detailed dream, because the teens don't know when they'll wake up as each other. It lasts only from the time they each wake up until they fall asleep, and it could happen up to a few times a week. Whey they realize it's "really" happening, they begin to leave reports in each other's cell phones, recounting important events. Mitsuha helps Taki get closer to his crush, a beautiful older server at the restaurant where he works, while Taki helps Mitsuha become more assertive, extroverted, and athletic. Eventually, though, they begin to have feelings for each other, since they know each other so well. But when Mitsuha and Taki try to find each other as themselves, it becomes clear something is wrong.
Is it any good?
Stunningly animated and well acted, this extraordinary Japanese coming-of-age tale is equal parts body-swap comedy, time-travel romance, and adventure film. Written and directed by Makoto Shinkai and based on his own novel, the story is engrossing enough to appeal to older tweens, teens who might think they've graduated from animated movies, and adults who appreciate well-crafted animation. The parts are familiar: two people who mysteriously trade bodies, a love/hate romance that blossoms from notes and messages, and a disaster film in which a few realize the danger and must convince everyone else. But how Shinkai weaves these pieces together is original, compelling, and unforgettable.
It sounds contradictory, but this is a sweeping love story in which the couple doesn't really meet, yet knows intimate details about each other. Taki and Mitsuha understand nearly everything about each other because they've literally been each other. It's one of the reasons it's so amusing and entertaining to watch the montage of them getting frustrated with each other. And while there's a running gag about Mitsuha "loving her boobies" (when she wakes up as Taki), it's depicted as humorous curiosity, rather than prurient or off-putting. Like the older-skewing Studio Ghibli titles, Your Name is a perfect choice for middle schoolers and up who will appreciate the combination of adventure and romance in a way that younger viewers aren't mature enough to enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Your Name's messages. What is the story trying to say about the difference between a big-city teen and one from a small town?
Discuss the love story in Your Name. What age audience is it aimed at? Why do you think that?
What does the movie have to say about gender? How do the two main characters react to being in the body of someone of the opposite sex? How do you think you'd feel?
- In theaters: April 7, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: November 7, 2017
- Cast: Michael Sinterniklaas, Stephanie Sheh, Kyle Hebert
- Director: Makoto Shinkai
- Studio: Funimation
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School, Trains
- Character strengths: Compassion, Curiosity, Empathy
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, suggestive content, brief language and smoking
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: October 28, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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