BE WITH YOU (Japanese)

  Publicity Stills of "Be With You"
(Courtesy from Festive Films)

Genre: Drama/Romance
Director: Nobuhiro Doi
Starring: Yuko Takeuchi, Shidou Nakamura, Akashi Takei
RunTime: 1 hr 58 mins
Released By: Festive Films & Cathay-keris Films
Rating: PG
Website: http://www.ima-ai.com (Japanese)

Released Date: 23 June 2005


Widower Takumi (Shidou Nakamura) lives a quiet life with his six-year-old son Yuji (Akashi Takei) after the loss of wife and mother Mio (Yuko Takeuchi). Yuji unfailingly remembers her promise to him: “I’ll be with you again in a year’s time, when the rains come.”
On the first anniversary of her passing, Takumi and Yuji are taking a walk in the woods when they come across a woman sheltering from a monsoon downpour. She bears an uncanny resemblance to Mio, but has no recollection of who she is or what she is doing there.
Family life resumes from where they left off, while Takumi and Mio’s memories of their first encounter in high school come flooding back. However, their new life together is interrupted by the discovery of Mio’s old diary, which reveals the secrets of her past and how they must say goodbye once more in six weeks time…

Movie Review:

"Be with You", a simple yet magnificent contemporary romance and upon closer look, has discreetly tucked away a much deeper study -- a universal one on the extent of true love and the acceptance of death. Blending romance with death in a tragically beautiful way, "Be with you" is almost perfect in both plot and mood.

My initial exposure to this film plot was filled with skeptics and questions. Why was Takumi’s wife, Mio, able to return from her death and why was she only able to stay with them for the duration of six weeks? I was expecting those “run out the mill” return from death plot but was pleasantly surprised at the revelation in the end. Yes, the rational of her return was hinged upon the unrealistic but it does give the film that surreal romantism and it will leave you with something to think about after leaving the theater.

However, do not expect emotional outburst in this film, even if it seemingly has the potential to do so (since it touted as a tragic romantic story). “Be With You” hardly contains any excessive expressions of emotion: joy, tears or even more than a couple simple kisses. I felt that the film's subtle treatment of romance transformed into the magic of this film, creating a more realistic loving relationship between Takumi, Mio and their son Yuji.

Part of the charm lies in the three main characters that make up the close knitted family. Akashi Takei who played the adorable son, Yuji, will probably be the endearing one. As an actor at such a young age, he is a natural with the ability to pull the audience’s heartstrings without any exaggerated performance. Shidou Nakamura, who plays the father Takumi, is totally convincing as this awkwardly shy and quiet guy, handicapped in his own way, making him distance himself from the rest of the world. Last but not least, the mother, Mio, played by Yuko Takeuchi was superb in portraying the lady who is just getting used to her sudden new husband and son that she never knew she had.

Initially Shidou Nakamura and Yuko Takeuchi felt like an unlikely couple but with their performance and great storyline, the audiences will grow to like them and understand why they were cast as the couple whose relationship was somewhat doomed from the start.

“Be With You” is highly recommended to all those people who are in love with the Japanese film “Love Letter” as they share plenty of similarities (such as the recollection of the old school days romance and the difficulty in expressing love to the other party) and yet distinctly different from each other such that fans of the latter film will probably like this one too. “Be With You” will be able to pacify the hardcore romantic and those who fear an overdose of sentimentality in films like me.

Movie Rating:

Review by Richard Lim Jr

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