When the entertainment industry tries to tackle weighty subjects such as the climate changing activities of human-kind and its global warming consequences the results can, ironically, sometimes feel a little dry.
There’s a reason for that. Large groups of people, complete strangers come together, the world over to huddle in darkened rooms and experience something that’s escapist, entertaining and other-worldly — the magic of cinema. After all, what else could coerce us unpredictable human-beings to quietly sit in row upon row patiently absorbed in the flickering screen up front.
And that’s why using that precious time to remind us of the ugly world outside is a dangerous trap some film-makers would rather not fall into.
But Weathering With You represents a subtle shift in that approach. From Makoto Shinkai, the Director who brought us the hugely successful Your Name, comes a heartwarming story that uses climate change and its apocalyptic consequences on our planet as the backdrop for its tale; a canvas against which to bring this love story to life.
Like real-life news stories we bear witness to on a weekly basis from around the world, Tokyo is experiencing it’s wettest rainy season on record. The depiction of rain in this film is beautiful; the refraction of light as it’s distorted, filtered or bounced around shimmering and sparkling lends the film a sensory, ethereal quality. And one that’s all the more heightened by the ominous doomsday-like feeling that everything is not quite right.
And, just like us dim, ‘don’t quite know what we’re doing to the planet humans’, the central character of the film, Hina, attempts to figure out a way to solve this climate change conundrum — unfortunately that entails a heavy price for the young couple in love.
Ultimately the film asks us to consider the choice we have as a species and the responsibility, or not, we have for a planet that is changing because of our actions.
Shinkai’s film is both heartfelt, visually stunning and emotionally captivating but if you’re looking for answers to the problem of climate change then your going to be disappointed. That might be because there are no easy answers. The film’s central characters are linked to the destiny of a world under threat and it’s their choices that have a direct impact on whether or not the crisis is averted. The analogy is clear.
This film is not about how to avert the climate change crisis, it’s about whether or not we want to pay the price for doing that and it’s only when our respective film, art and cultures, begin to ask this question more forcefully can we truly understand the implications of doing nothing.