Thursday, June 5, 2008

Be With You

A seemingly simple fairy-tale that works on more levels than one (meaning two).

Take, for example, the beginning. It builds an intriguing premise that's centered upon a dead wife/mother seemingly coming back to life for a father and son. In order to make us feel the dear mothers' sudden disappearance and return to the sympathetic family, director Doi yanks and ignores the most intriguing aspect of the movie for a good hour, stranding the viewer with feelings of frustration, angst, and anger, just like Takumi and Yuji in the film. This feeling of abandonment is further enhanced by the director choosing to focus on a generic love story told in flashbacks, instead of the unique mystery that pervades the entire premise.

When the (apparently not) main plot about the dead wife returns in the third act, the movie hurriedly goes through the (e)motions, climaxes early, then regresses back into the monotony of the generic flashback love story, of course, cleverly symbolizing Mio's, the dead mother's, tragically short, yet happy, life.

And then, as if realizing that it climaxed early and that there's no real reason for the viewer to sit through the rest of the film, some silly time travel subplot is tacked on for good measure, garnished by sunflowers.

Also, to convey the fact that the family loves each other ridiculously, Doi makes them bland, conflict-less, and one-dimensional. In fact, even Nakamura shows the love by making sure that child actor Takei Akashi isn't blown off-screen by matching his single expression of "cute" with his own static expression of "perplexion."

The only part I don't like in this fairy tale is that they don't live happily ever after.

Be With You: 4/10

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