: Mamoru Hosoda (98 mins)
Reviews: RottenTomatoes (87%), IMDB (7.8), Wikipedia, Amazon.
Watch online: YouTube, WatchAnimeMovie.
Similar movies: anime, romance.
An entertaining movie. A teenage girl Makoto discovers that she can go back in the past. She starts using this ability to fix small things in her life: eat a pudding before sister eats it, avoid socially embarrassing situations, fix relationships between others and her own, and so on. For the first hour or so, I got increasingly tired.. I was thinking, "oh, boy! yet another teenage romance movie.." Then suddenly, time stopped .. everything came to a standstill and the storyline took a turn. The scene in which time stops is nicely done. Makoto discovers why she is time traveling. She also discovers purpose in her life: to serve others, keeping the future in mind.
Comparisons with Groundhog Day (1993, English) are natural. In Groundhog Day, the protagonist does not have control over time travel. Every day, he wakes up to the same date and events unfold in more or less the same way. This repetition does not go away until he makes peace with a certain woman through changing his own behavior. The storyline reminds me of rebirth in Indian philosophy, or the general idea that we face the same situation again and again until we recognize our own habit patterns of negative reactions and fix these habit patterns to become peaceful.
About Time (2013, English) is a copy of The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. I saw it a few weeks ago and found it very boring. The Japanese movie resonated much more with me.
An insightful review tracing the history of time travel genre in Japanese culture: here.