I miss my Korean Dramas on cable but I am adamant I’m not going to be hooked again. So to satisfy my craving, I reward myself by watching Korean movies, and Be With You, starring my favourite actor Soh Ji-Sub, came at a right moment, just after I submitted my thesis.
Really, you might ask, what’s there to spoil about romantic movies. I agree, not very much, except no, there is no happy ending to this one. But still, there is a twist in this movie which if you would rather not know, stop reading here and go watch if you are a fan of Soh. Otherwise, the story is rather unbelievable not because of the plot, but because of the certainty that the couple, Woo Jin and Soo Ah, believe in the absurdity of her ever returning from the dead one rainy day during the rainy season, especially when she concocted the story in a storybook she made for their son, Ji Ho.
Woo Jin is a widower who loses his wife Soo Ah to an illness. He struggles with a full-time job in a swimming pool and looking after Ji Ho. Ji Ho thinks his mother dies giving birth to him, and looks forward to meeting her again. Thus he yearns for the rainy season. When the season finally arrives, he rushes to the deserted train station to wait for her. They find her in a tunnel, disorientated and suffering from amnesia. Soo Ah can’t remember her husband and son. Thus, both Soo Ah and the audience get flashbacks on how their romance began in high school from Woo Jin. She falls in love with both, until she learns the truth about herself in a diary she finds.
At the end of the movie, we learn that she was knocked down by a car and was in a coma when she was 26 years old. This was after Woo Jin broke off their relationship when he discovered that he was suffering from a sickness which rendered his health dangerous whenever he exerts physically. Not wanting to be a burden, he breaks off with her.
When she awakens from the coma and finds herself in a tunnel with her family, seven years have passed and she is told by them she has a husband and a son. She thus has this short window period to spend with both Woo Jin and Ji Ho, before she returns and wakes up to back when she is 26 years old, with the choice of either going back to Woo Jin and knowing she’ll die at 32 years old, or to change her fate and perhaps live until a ripe old age. And so upon waking up from her coma, she rushes to back to Woo Jin, marries him and gives birth to Ji Ho and dies as scripted in her comatose dream. (How can people ever trust the reality of their dreams?)
I know this is just a story, but I wonder, what exactly is in her mind as she walks away from her family in the tunnel, towards an unknown destination which she coined Cloudland, supposedly in heaven? Is she not afraid? How certain is she that she’ll get back to waking up in the hospital? Why not take the chance and continue living with her family and see what happens? After all, no one knows right?
Just my thoughts as I left the cinema.
I like Soh Ji Sub and he didn’t disappoint. But Son Ye-Jin can be quite boring despite her pretty face. I was amused to find a short cameo by Gong Hyo Jin, Soh’s leading lady in Master of the Sun, whose appearance over-shadows Son’s acting as she’s just so cute. In case you wonder, yes, there is a tissue moment when Ji Ho is on stage in a school concert, and changes his script to promise his mother in the audience that he’ll take care of his father when she leaves them. Adorable too is his little curly-haired friend, who explains to Ji Ho matter-of-factly that she dislike rainy days as her hair curls too much.