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A movie with four different languages, multiple story lines, nearly no dialog, and a main character that is both deaf and blind. By most accounts you might consider this movie to be a painful experience that requires far more attention than you would be willing to give a form of entertainment. For the first 65 minutes or so, I would say you are right, but then the different stories are so completely different that you want to stay and find out how they are supposed to be connected. As soon as the “ah-ha” moment happens in the movie, you realize how beautiful the whole movie really was.
Be With Me is not really about one person or one story but rather a collection of short stories that when connected remind the viewer just how amazing both love and coincidence can really be. Additionally, as the “main character” (main because she serves as a narrator) is both blind and deaf, the story shows how string the human spirit can be when given hardships. The opening credits show an old couple closing their shop in a Chinese market. The movie quickly transitions to the story of a lonesome security guard who has a [unhealthy] crush on a woman in his office building. Again the movie transitions without closure and seemingly with no connection to two young school girls who think they are in love after meeting each other online. Yet one last time the move transitions to a deaf and blind woman in a grocery store. These four stories continue to build and transition between themselves with what seems to be no plot or purpose. Each time the story switches the movie gets a little more involved and you start to get interested in a character but then the scenes cut again.
I was getting rather upset and aggravated at the seemingly pointless stories and the lack of story line. There is not a single line of dialog in the movie until the 20th minute or so. In total the total length of verbal dialog could probably fit on three pages. This is nice as there are little to no subtitles to read. However the movie relies heavily on viewer interaction with the “narrator’s” typewriter, the young girls’ text messages and the security guards love note. With each scene more details become clear and in return the movie gets more confusing. At one point I considered the possibility that the movie really had no point and was just an example of really well done cinematography. Then two of the stories are tied together through the life of a character that was in the movie the whole time but had no depth or purpose. This little twist leads to the eventual connection of all the stories in a way that is so subtle and surprising, I felt as if I was watching a M. Night Shyamalan movie but it no longer sucked. Instead the movie became really enjoyable and I started to think about how the different love stories really showed the full range of true life.
Not many scripts really reward a viewer for watching the entire film. All to often movies are focused on foreshadowing and practically painting a picture for the audience of the outcome within the credits. Be With Me not only doesn’t foreshadow much of anything, it completely distracts the viewer from even attempting to understand what is taking place. Each short story would most likely be a good 15 minute movie on it’s own. However, but weaving the characters together, the end result is a really beautiful and puzzlingly enjoyable movie. If you are willing to sit through 65 minutes of slow building, the end is worth the wait.
Other movies that I was reminded of due to the multiple storylines concept: