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Asian cinema: Korean films

Be with You film review: So Ji-sub, Son Ye-jin in Korean adaptation of popular fantasy romance

This charming tale of a mother who comes back to life a year after her death, with no memory and settles back in with her family, is enhanced by the performances of the big name cast and the newcomers

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 June, 2018, 3:48pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 June, 2018, 3:47pm

3/5 stars

In Be with You, Korean heartthrob So Ji-sub plays Woo-jin, a single father struggling to raise a young son following the unexpected death of his wife, Soo-ah (Son Ye-jin).

A year to the day after she died, however, Soo-ah miraculously reappears – albeit with no memory of her family. She quickly assimilates back into family life, but is all too aware that she will disappear once again when the rainy season ends.

Adapted from the novel by Takuji Ichikawa, which was previously adapted into a popular film in Japan in 2004, Be with You marks the directorial debut of Lee Jang-hoon. Avoiding superfluous explanation of its fantastical premise, Lee puts his trust in his big name cast, and his audience’s willingness to be bewitched by the romance and go with the flow.

The chemistry between Son and So is the big draw in Be with You, and their radiant star power pays off in spades, as Woo-jin recounts their long romantic history together, while rekindling their love all over again.

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Praise must also be lauded upon Kim Ji-hwan, who brings humour and sympathy to the role of the young son. Not only is he struggling to keep moving forward after losing his mother, but he has also been saddled with the suggestion that he may have in some way been responsible.

Ko Chang-seok adds some comic relief as Woo-jin’s bumbling best friend and confidante, while the flashback structure welcomes a number of up-and-coming performers as the younger versions of the principals.

Be with You may rarely stray from the conventions of its romantic genre, but the results nevertheless manage to charm.

Be with You opens on June 28

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