Your Name. ★★★★

It's extremely difficult to talk about this movie and how good it is without giving too much away. How can you take a simple body-switching, romantic-dramedy plot and make it something otherworldly entirely? Simple - give it to the Japanese. Or maybe just give it to Makoto Shinkai.

I'll be honest. I was wary heading into this movie, despite the heaps of praise it got from literally everywhere. This should be understandable. After all, of everything in his filmography, I still hold Shinkai's 5 Centimeters Per Second in very high regard. Garden of Words? Best not to bring that up with me at all.

But Your Name transcends anything I've seen by this creator. Before, I used to think that 5 Centimeters was Shinkai's strongest body of work. Now? I'm not sure that's the case anymore.

Compared to his other works, where sad, introspective monologues dominated the script, Shinkai's latest outing injects more life, more humor, and more stakes into something that was supposed to be a simple love story. Body-swapping, guy meeting girl, guy going inside girl, and guy falling in love with girl - it's amazing what stories can come out of such done-to-death concepts.

What's even better is that everything about it feels so genuine. The characters' connection isn't forced, and it's clear they had to work to win the audience's favor. Combine this with the never-ending crinkles in the story to keep you interested, and then, throw in a little memorable climactic sequences, and you have something truly special. Save for the final ten to fifteen minutes, and the awkward song placements, this movie is good. It's good. Shinkai's come back in full force, and I, for one, cannot wait to see what he comes out with next.

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