Two films I saw recently I’d like to suggest. A few weeks ago, I saw the 2016 Japanese anime film Your Name, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. 2 days ago, I followed it up with the 2016 Japanese anime film A Silent Voice, and it was ALSO one of the best things I’ve ever seen. While Your Name is magical realist, A Silent Voice is more down to earth and deals with all too common problems of bullying and loneliness. It’s a redemption story; you want to punch the main character at the beginning and hug him by the end. Apparently, it’s also a comfort movie to many people with social anxiety, and there’s a very creative way it depicts the isolation of the main character which resonated with me personally too.
The premise is, a boy who once bullied a deaf girl in elementary school attempts to rid himself of guilt and make things right by reaching out to her. Does A Silent Voice milk its emotional moments for all they’re worth? Yes it does. If I had to make one criticism, it would be that the mothers in the story don’t seem to have aged past 20. The deaf girl, Shoko, is sometimes almost too good a person to be believable, but I think that a struggle to make friends - for whatever reason - probably forces you into being a nicer and more humble person. Your Name and A Silent Voice are on Netflix, I recommend them both.
Yesterday I also watched Mr Smith Goes to Washington, the 1939 Frank Capra film that made Jimmy Stewart a household name. Jean Arthur and Claude Rains shine too, but Stewart is a perfect pick for the awkward and boyish Mr Smith, who is sent to the US senate as an unwitting stooge by corrupt politicians. The film is funny and tragic in turns, and a real crowd pleaser; it would get anyone excited about politics. It’s a film you can get really invested in, and root for the characters, and lines like “No, I will not yield!” which are everyday in the American senate are turned into moments of triumph that put a grin on your face. My only problem is how suddenly it ended - it built up to a climax of anticipation, then suddenly stopped. Prepare yourself for a surprise.