Wednesday, October 08, 2014

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time (2006)

Note:  This review was originally posted to my Epinions account.

After watching a lot of one- and two-star movies, I figured I’d try something different.  The Girl Who Leapt Through Time looked interesting, so I ordered it from Netflix.  The movie is about Makoto Konno.  Her day starts off normally.  She wakes up late, rushes out the door to school, doesn’t do well on a pop quiz, and nearly starts a fire while cooking.  To make matters worse, she nearly gets hit by a train.  The only thing that keeps the train from actually hitting her is that she’s developed the ability to jump back in time.

She finds herself having gone back a few minutes.  When she realizes what happened and that she has control over it, she begins to use it for several trivial jumps.  She now knows the answers to the pop quiz, which means that she can ace it.  She knows not to take a certain station in the cooking class.  Instead of being limited to an hour of fun, she can repeat the session over and over again.  Upset that her little sister ate Makoto’s pudding, she goes back to eat it herself.

She has no sense of the consequences or the possibilities.  (Other people don’t always like the outcome of her changes.)   She could date someone that she likes and if it doesn’t work out, she could literally go back to the way it was, as if nothing had happened.   She comes to realize that she has a limited number of jumps and she doesn’t have many left.  At this point, she does try to make things better, but there’s always that loose end.  It seems like there’s always one more thing she has to fix.

I hate to say it, but for many people, like my mother, anime tends to be a strike against a movie.  Any sort of sci-fi or fantasy tends to be another strike.  I happen to like both, so I don’t mind watching a movie like this, but it’s not really fair to a movie to not like it based on the style of presentation.  Also, the science-fiction aspect isn’t really that heavy.  You don’t get a lot of technical talk about how time travel is possible nor does the movie spend to much time on altered time lines and the butterfly effect.

Instead, it’s about Makoto and her learning to deal with the consequences of her actions.  She starts out with no real direction in life.  Many of her friends have some idea of what they want to do.  She has no sense at all of what she wants to do when she grows up.  I don’t know that she does when the movie ends, but she does have a slightly clearer sense of purpose.

This was one of those movies that I really enjoyed.  (Judging by the other reviews, I’m not alone.)  I really felt for Makoto.  Unfortunately, she was the only character that had any real development and she did seem to get the most screen time, but that did make for an engaging movie.  As you might expect with a time-travel movie, there were some repeated scenes.  (The time-jump animation got a lot of use, but not to the point where it was distracting.)

The movie has a PG-13 rating in the U.S., which I would think is for some mild language.  (Masturbation is mentioned once in the movie.  Beyond that, it’s nothing worse than damn and hell.)  It’s the kind of movie that anyone could enjoy assuming that they don’t mind that.

I’d definitely recommend the movie to anyone.  Runtime was 98 minutes, which was a good length.  I didn’t feel like it dragged at all, nor did I feel that the movie was missing anything.  I don’t know that there will be a sequel.  It’s one of those movies that’s probably better left open. 

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