When 17-year-old Makoto Konno gains the ability to, quite literally, "leap" backwards through time, she immediately sets about improving her grades and preventing personal mishaps. However, she soon realises that changing the past isn't as simple as it seems, and eventually, will have to rely on her new powers to shape the future of herself and her friends.
I saw this film at the US premiere at the New York International Children's Film Festival and it really knocked my socks off.
The plot of the film has a high school senior named Makoto Konno going through life blissfully hanging out with friends, and trying to cope with the pressures of being a high schooler. On a day when everything is going wrong Makoto suddenly discovers that she has somehow become able to leap through time. Suddenly able to relive great days or correct past mistakes she thinks she has somehow managed to to find a way to make her wishes (and those of her friends) come true. Unfortunately it soon becomes clear that some of the changes have consequences that she never intended.(I dare not say too much more since the revealing too much will clue you in too early as to whats going on in the film, perhaps taking a bit of the edge off the wonder. Trust me you'll thank me once you see the film yourself).
More like a novel than a movie this film takes its time getting to where its going and its better for it. Here we have a bunch of likable kids who are simply trying to get out of school and go on to the next level, at the same time trying to deal with things like lost puddings and the members of the opposite sex. Since we get to know and to like the kids (and adults) we become invested in what happens to them. Will they make the right choice? Who can say when you have the ability to do it over again.
One of the better animated features of the last year (from any country) this is a smart drama/comedy/romance/thriller. This is unlike any American animated film of recent vintage in that it talks to its audience with out dumbing everything down or needing to follow some corporate formula for success. Here is a film that is more than just dumb jokes, but is instead about people. This is a movie that should be seen by anyone who wants to see a great movie, and not just an animated one.
Reviewed by TheLittleSongbird9 / 10
Mamoro Hosoda's best film
All three of his films that said, the other two being Summer Wars and Wolf Children, while neither without flaws(Summer Wars did have too many characters with some better-developed than others and Wolf Children had an at times rushed beginning and ended inconclusively) are great films and near-masterpieces almost as good as the best of Studio Ghibli.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time did get a little too complicated at the end and the character designs lacked the sophistication and detail of the rest of the animation. Speaking of the rest of the animation on the other hand, it's fantastic(something that all three of Hosoda's films have in common) with its luscious watercolour-like backgrounds and beautiful colours. The animation in the time-leaping is so inventive and effortlessly drawn it leaves one breathless. The film also has a great music score(another thing that all three Hosoda films had), it's positively hypnotic and sometimes rousing and sometimes melancholic, I also much appreciated the use of unobtrusive piano scoring.
There is a thoughtful script that sounds remarkably natural(Japanese and American, dubs don't always translate well but it does fine here), complete with a deft balance of comedy and drama. The story is always engaging and not boring at all, it's funny, it's poignant, it's imaginative and it's thought-provoking, also using the time travel idea very effectively(one of the better films to do so). The messaging is well-handled and not laid on too thick. The characters are likable and interesting rather than being swamped by the time travel and the voice acting is good in the American dub(even if the title character's voice acting may be shrill for some, personally it wasn't a problem) and very good indeed in the Japanese version.
Overall, a great film, near-masterpiece status in fact. If you loved The Girl Who Leapt Time and haven't seen Summer Wars or Wolf Children yet, do so. 9/10 Bethany Cox
Reviewed by SnoopyStyle7 / 10
Teenager Makoto Konno is a normal school girl. She plays baseball with her male friends. She's late a lot. She stumbles upon a small object at the school and she has a surreal journey. When she gets hit by a train while riding her faulty bike, she jumps back in time to safety.
This is a good Japanese animated movie. I like the characters. The story is pretty good in a Groundhog Day way. It's all pretty good. I don't have any big complaints but I'm not completely falling in love with this either. The issue is Chiaki Mamiya. He needs to be more charismatic and he needs more time on the screen. I get that he's a super cool dude. The most compelling aspect of his character seems to be his hair. He has some good moment but there isn't enough until the reveal. I don't mind it but he could be more. More back and forth in the romance would really help. The lakeside ride comes out of nowhere. It needs some more development.