Be With You (2004)

Ah, another  live-action movie review. This will be my third one. I am mainly an anime and manga reviewer (which I well get to soon) so reviewing movies isn’t really my thing. Though, I will be reviewing those flicks which I hold very dear and reckon not many people know about. For example, the Bakuman movie; a pretty good flick. And don’t forget the Dr. Strange Movie as well. Other than those heavily into comics, not many people knew he even existed. Without further ado, let’s get on to Be With You!

The very first thing I have to say is that I’m heavily in love with the movie. Be With You, in my opinion, is the best romance movie I have ever seen (yet).

The first time I watched it was a couple of years ago when an Asian friend had recommended it. Yep, even I was skeptical with that claim when I remembered the movie a while back. As a result, I planned to re-watch the movie and confirm the hardness of my statement. Soon, an opportunity presented itself at the most perfect of times: right when the monsoon rains began here a few days ago. The movie, sounds of the pitter-patter of droplets, roaring of thunder, and the howling wind were in harmony. I’m pretty sure the director and Satan/God are in cahoots…

Anyways, according to my 3 minute research, Be With You released on the 30th of October way back in 2004. It also has a manga, which was published a year after the movie’s release, and a novel, which came out two days before the movie. I have read neither but the general consensus is that the manga is just average. The world knows Be With You by this name but the Japanese the name is ‘Ima, ai ni yukimasu’. You can use either names to torrent the movie as the DVDs only exist in collections now.

Background information over.
Story is a-go.

Be With You has a rather simple yet intricately formed story. 30 year old Takumi and Yuji, his 6 year old son, are soon left to fend for themselves after the death of his wife, Mio. They live in a village where a children’s story, or a legend per se, says that a girl returns to life at the beginning of the rainy season and then leaves when the sun finally shoos all of the rain clouds away when the season is over. And, well, that’s what happens with Mio. A year after her death, she is found in an abandoned building in the middle of a forest with amnesia. The flabbergasted Takumi and the delighted Yuji take her back home where the wheels of romance revolve once more.

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These two actually got married after the movie. Sadly, they divorced a year later…

That’s the gist of the story. As to how she came back to life and the way Takumi and Yuji deal with the situation are spoilers. But what I will say is that the movie is coherently made and treats its audience as thinking individuals. Certain plot points require you to ponder over the numerous circumstances surrounding Mio’s reanimation and the relationship between her and Takumi. Be With You is a prime example of ‘show over tell’. Especially when the plot comes full circle in the last 30 minutes of the movie. Excellent direction and writing make this movie a must watch. There are even moments of well executed silliness for those sweet laughs.

By the way, the ending is bittersweet. It does not pull any of its aphrodisiac-strengthened punches. You will most likely shed a few tears. Funnily enough, it’s been reported that cinemas in Japan became wail-houses by the end of the movie.

be_with_you-005
Rain, rain, don’t go away~ Please stay here another day~

The characters, again, no real need to go into them. Just what should be said is that they’re highly believable. Well, except for the school teacher. No kidding, but she gave me lolicon vibes. Ahahaha… Half-jokes aside, the characters, even the kid, are wonderfully developed and given enough time to form a near-perfect 3D shape. Though, the real issue would be the actors portraying them.

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I’m too lazy to check but I’m pretty sure this kid has gotten quite successful.

Yes, for people who aren’t used to Japanese cinema will easily be weirded out by the strange and maximum over-expressed acting in the first 35 or so minutes of the movie. This kind of acting is the norm in low-budget cinema and most Japanese television show so I was kind of used to it. Still, the acting in the first 35 minutes was just unusually bizarre. Thankfully, the actors finally managed to possess their roles like an anti-evil spirit and put on an excellent show for the rest of the movie’s duration. Even the kid grew – both literally and figuratively. For a 2-hour movie, the actors did well to redeem themselves.

Speaking of low-budget, the same can be said for the visuals and the camera-work in, again, the aforementioned duration. It just seems like they tried to start anew in the middle of production and someone decided to be a Yakuza and let stains be stains. Oh well, I don’t know.

The music, though, was a good fit. Soothing use of bells and chimes and pretty neat orchestral stuff. Cheery when it should be cheery, intense when it should be intense. The real cherry, however, was the song played during the credits sequence. ‘Hana’ by Orange Range. Some of you may recognize Orange Range by the upbeat and catchy songs ‘Asterisk’ and ‘Viva Rock’ used in Bleach and Naruto respectively. Hana’s style is a bit different but it’s an instant hit. It topped the Japanese musical charts for almost a year after Be With You’s release.

Overall, it’s quite obvious, that I hold Be With You in regard. Tinoudatin! But, it’s not a perfect movie. An objective score would be a 9/10.

pls watch dis

(since I couldn’t screencap while watching the movie, image courtesy Google searches)

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