Weathering With You Parent Guide
Although the film’s beautiful visuals should invite moviegoers to immerse themselves in the story, the plot’s weaknesses are a reminder that this is just a story, and not a very good one at that.
Parent Movie Review
In an interview at the end of Weathering with You, director Makoto Shinkai explains Japan’s longstanding love affair with its four beautiful seasons. But now, Shinkai asserts, global warming has turned weather from something to celebrate into something to be prepared for.
With this perspective, it’s no surprise that weather is the antagonist in this movie. When 16 year old runaway Hodaka (voiced with a remarkable lack of finesse by Kotaro Daigo) arrives in Tokyo, the city is soaking after months of uninterrupted rainfall. The desperate young man eventually gets hired as a gofer and live-in intern by tabloid owner Keisuke Suga (Shun Oguri). As Hodaka tramps around Tokyo in search of a good story, he stumbles across Hina (Nana Mori), a “Sunshine Girl” whose prayers can temporarily push back the rain and let the sun shine through. But her powers come at a high price…and Hodaka will do anything to prevent her from paying it.
Weathering with You is a difficult film to describe. It has beautiful, sometimes incandescent backdrops, with stunning vistas and intricate weather scenes. The raindrops alone are a triumph of animation skill. Sadly, the movie isn’t as good as it looks. The story often feels disconnected, there are some notable plot holes, and a number of things are left hanging or poorly explained (gel-like fish floating around in the rain, sky dragons, etc.) Although the film’s beautiful visuals should invite moviegoers to immerse themselves in the tale, the plot’s weaknesses are a constant reminder that this is just a story, and not a very good one at that.
Also disappointing are the content issues in this production. Parents usually assume that animated films are clean, although it’s worth noting that the anime genre runs the gamut from family friendly through to extreme porn. Unfortunately, Weathering with You has a disappointing number of problematic issues, including over a dozen swear words, scenes of alcohol use and some non-explicit sexual content. One of the most disturbing scenes involves Hodaka grabbing a woman and fleeing from the men who are trying to recruit her into the sex industry (the exact nature of the work is not clarified). Hodaka is beaten as a result and other violent scenes involve his use of a handgun. Adult viewers will not be happy to see an emotionally distraught teen waving a firearm at police officers. Parents will also quibble with the movie’s product placements: McDonald’s receives significant screen time and a Pepsi product is also clearly visible in the film. Anyone considering this movie should also note that it is in Japanese with English subtitles, although a version dubbed into English is available in some locations.
The content issues are unfortunate, because Weathering with You raises some big questions for teens. What’s more important: the happiness of the individual or the good of society? Should a person be asked to sacrifice themselves for the greater good? What can we be expected to sacrifice if we try to control nature? Is it worth casting blame for changes in the climate or are we better off focusing our efforts on adapting to them?
Weathering With You may have moments of peril and a downbeat storyline, but it at least provides moments of hope. Love conquers all, or at least some, and that’s the beam of sunlight shining through the clouds.Directed by Makoto Shinkai. Starring Kotaro Daigo, Nana Mori, Sei Hiraizumi. Running time: 114 minutes. Theatrical release January 15, 2020. Updated January 16, 2020
Watch the trailer for Weathering With You
Weathering With You
Rating & Content Info
Why is Weathering With You rated PG-13? Weathering With You is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for suggestive material, some violence and language
Violence: A man deliberately trips a teenager. A man is beaten when he tries to save a woman from sexual exploitation. A teen fires a handgun on two occasions; the first time in self defense and the second at police officers. Characters are punched, hit and slapped in the face on several occasions; blood and injuries are seen. A character is thrown to the ground by a police officer. A main character bites someone who has hit him. A character calls down lightning from the sky; it hits a truck which explodes.
Sexual Content: A teen boy is shown in the shower on two occasions; only his head and back are visible. A teen sees a job ad for a sex club waiter. A young man ogles a woman’s cleavage on a couple of occasions. There is mention of a mistress. A character finds a woman’s bra on the floor. Men try to recruit a young woman into the sex industry – the exact job is unclear – and become violent when interrupted. A woman opens her bathrobe but all that is visible is the outline of her body, filled with water.
Profanity: There are approximately 14 profanities and coarse expressions in the movie, including four terms of deity, three scatological curses, and a variety of anatomical terms and mild swear words.
Alcohol / Drug Use: An adult drinks beer on several occasions; on one stressful occasion he gets drunk. He offers beer to a minor, who refuses it. An adult smokes a pack of cigarettes when stressed.
Page last updated January 16, 2020
Weathering With You Parents' Guide
If you could control the weather, would you? What do you think are the potential downsides of being able to control the weather? Would improving the weather in your area have negative side effects somewhere else?
Because Japan is an island nation, it is particularly susceptible to the challenges posed by rapid climate change. For more information about how global climate change is affecting Japan, read the following articles.
The Climate Reality Project: How the Climate Crisis Impacts Japan
The Washington Post: The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific
How is your country or region affected by the changing climate? Which countries are most at risk? Is there anything you can do about it?
The Climate Reality Project: How Climate Change Is Impacting Different Places Around the World
CN Traveler: 14 Places Most Affected by Climate Change
Loved this movie? Try these books…
In Tamora Pierce’s The Circle of Magic and The Circle Opens series, a young mage named Tris Chandler has the power to control the weather. Follow Tris’ adventures in Tris’s Book, Shatterglass, and The Will of the Empress.
Shannon Hale’s Books of Bayern feature female protagonists who can talk to nature. Anidori can speak to birds and the wind, Enna can talk to fire, Dasha speaks to water, and Rin communicates with trees. Their tales are told in The Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets, and Forest Born.
Namesake by Kate Stradling tells the story of a young woman incapable of learning magic, until she falls backwards through time. As she masters magic, she also learns to control fire.
Related home video titles:
If you enjoy anime movies with a touch of adventure, be sure to watch Howl’s Moving Castle, a story about a young hatmaker who is cursed to look 80 years old. She takes shelter in a moving castle and meets Howl, its young master.
If you’re looking for live-action films that feature the weather as the antagonist, you can watch Into the Storm. This film features high school students who head into the heart of the storm to catch tornadoes from the inside. (No one ever said they were bright.) Climate catastrophes go global at an exponential rate in The Day After Tomorrow. And in Geostorm, Gerard Butler is sent into space to adjust the satellites that control the world’s climate.
For what’s possibly the best known documentary about global climate change, check out An Inconvenient Truth.