Not everyone is a rainy day person. Personally, I prefer the breezy “ber” month day where just enough sun is peeking out for me to wear a light jacket without sweating buckets. Living in the Philippines where the two seasons are wet and dry has me leaning towards a sensible and cool weather median. But I have to admit that hot cocoa and cuddles turn exquisite on a rainy day. My main beef with the rain is how it makes me big sad.
According to clinical psychologist Tecsia Evans, “When it gets dark and dreary out, some people definitely have more susceptibility to feeling lonely or down. It’s pretty common to see a change in mood—such as feeling sadness or lower self-esteem—when it’s rainy outside.” I used to like being all up in your feelings but now I try to schedule my crying fests. Just adult things, am I right?
Is a rainy day person just another term we use to call emotionally vulnerable people? There’s an old Gordon Lightfoot song called “Rainy Day People” with the lyric “If you get lonely, all you really need is that rainy day love.” The rest of the song goes on about how they aren’t afraid to admit that they’ve been through rough times too and be there for you if you’re going through it. If you don’t have a rainy day person in your squad, maybe these films can bring you that particular kind of comfort for feelings that you need to dive into with someone for it to pass.
“Weathering With You”
This one is a no-brainer. I can’t make a list of rainy day movies without including Makoto Shinkai’s 2019 film “Weathering With You.” With “Your Name” now available on Netflix, a lot of non-anime fans got a taste of Shinkai’s visually breathtaking and narratively compelling work. This movie is no different.
It follows the story of a highschooler named Hodaka who runs away to rainy Tokyo where he crosses paths with an orphaned girl named Hina who can summon sunshine through prayer. It’s replete with gorgeous scenes where you’ll feel suspended in air or wading through flooded streets along with the characters. When you realize that you’re totally invested in them finally getting a win after all they’ve been through, you find out the price they have to pay for manipulating the weather and it is devastating.
It’s hard not to compare the two movies (With that surprise cameo, it was really inevitable anyway.). “Weathering With You” is more ambitious and Shinkai has shared that climate change and political upheavals around the world inspired this movie about sacrifice. Like the rain, it pours all of a sudden, gets lighter then comes pouring again unannounced.
Michel Gondry, who co-wrote and directed “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” gave us another surreal romance in his 2013 French science fantasy film “Mood Indigo.” We watch the romance between well-off Colin (who owns this contraption called a “pianocktail” that makes you a cocktail when you play a few chords on its piano keys) and Chloe (played by Audrey Tautou whom you may recognize as Amélie) unfurl. During their honeymoon, Chloe becomes ill after a flower starts growing in her lung.
As her condition worsens and the relationships between characters turn sour, the couple’s apartment deteriorates and the film’s aesthetic drastically changes to match the change in tone. Gondry utilizes several techniques that gave it a larger than life feel. NPR’s Tomas Hachard likened the film to Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” but unlike Anderson, Gondry thrives in well-constructed chaos.
It’s a lot different from Joel and Clementine’s story but it’s definitely just as mind-boggling. If you ask me to describe my mood on rainy days, I’d probably answer, “Indigo.”
“Sunday Beauty Queen”
I don’t know how to explain it but Sundays are like rainy days. On Sundays, I contemplate my relationships with my friends and family. I get pretty sentimental no matter the weather. Maybe it’s due to my Catholic upbringing or the typical Filipino Sunday-is-family-day routine that we still adhere to.
Director Babyruth Villarama’s “Sunday Beauty Queen” is a documentary on Filipina OFWs working in Hong Kong that hit me like a truck when I caught a screening in my university. It stars domestic helpers Rudelyn Acosta, Cherrie Mae Bretana, Mylyn Jacobo, Hazel Perdido and Leo Selomenio. It sheds light on their near slave wages, the often unfair treatment they face, their found families abroad and the ways they reclaim their dignity on their days off.
My parents were OFWs before and my mom also experienced being a caregiver in HK so it really struck a chord. I know a lot of Filipinos will be able to relate to this movie in their own way.
“Castaway on the Moon”
One of my all-time favorites, Lee Hae-jun’s “Castaway on the Moon” is a romantic comedy that made me feel seen. One of South Korean cinema’s lesser-known gems, you may not recognize its leads. A warning though, it tackles suicide, anxiety and depression. I’m sensitive about romanticized and gratuitous portrayals of mental health disorders so I really appreciated how they chose to approach it here. It’s also a critique of homeless welfare and the credit system.
It’s a love story between a man named Kim Seong-geun, who was cast away to an islet in Seoul after jumping off a bridge into the Han river, and a hikikomori (a Japanese term for a person experiencing a severe social withdrawal and has become a recluse in their home, unable to work or school for months or years) woman named Kim Jung-yeon. The pair begin exchanging messages after Jung-yeon sees Seong-geun’s cry for help and decides to throw him a note in a bottle.
After watching this, I felt less alone and so, so hopeful.
“Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”
Steve Carell and Keira Knightley make an unlikely couple but I guess everything goes on Earth’s final days. While a 70-mile-wide asteroid is on its way to collide with our planet, soft-spoken salesman Dodge’s wife leaves him. He meets his neighbor and together they embark on a journey so he could meet the so-called love of his life.
Lorene Scafaria’s (who also directed “Hustlers”) “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World” is bittersweet. It’s not your run-of-the-mill apocalypse movie and it’s definitely a nice spin to the doom-and-gloom that’s often presented in media. Don’t get me wrong, I love zombie movies. But sometimes, all you really need is a good comfort story.
If you ever feel the blues, I hope you watch these too. In the words of Sheryn Regis, come in out of the rain.
Photo screengrab from the “Mood Indigo” trailer
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