Darren Carver-Balsiger’s review published on Letterboxd:
I like slow movies (The Turin Horse, 2001: A Space Odyssey). I like romance movies (Carol, Chungking Express). I like movies dominated by stunning visuals and voiceover (The Tree of Life, Apocalypse Now). I like slow, visually stunning, romance movies split into three sections (The Handmaiden, Moonlight). Yet 5 Centimetres Per Second is slow, visually stunning, somewhat romantic, split into three sections and a complete failure. It's boring and uninteresting. This is a film where nothing happens, and not in a way that the some of the greatest filmmakers (e.g. Tarr, Tarkovsky) manage to make work. Instead, Shinkai fills his film with cheesy moments, pseudo-intellectual voiceover and pointless shot after pointless shot. If not for the photorealistic animation and cleverly conceived structure (which is still poorly executed), this would be an unwatchable mess. As it stands, it's merely a boring, useless film with some redeemable features. Very disappointing.