‘You With Me’ review: Tediously formulaic and unimaginative
A cross-cultural love story that is sadly lacking in culture, among other things, Rommel Ricafort’s You With Me is tediously formulaic and painfully unimaginative.
Neither clear nor concise
Kim (Devon Seron), an English tutor to students from different countries, is sick and tired of her life as the lone daughter of wealthy but very restrictive parents (Tonton Gutierrez and Assunta de Rossi). When she gets invited by one of her Korean students to visit Seoul, she quickly grabs the opportunity to escape the clutches of her unreasonably protective family and live an independent life as the assistant to Jayson (Hyun Woo), a young entrepreneur who needs Kim’s English skills to win an important contract.
It doesn’t come as a surprise that Kim and Jayson end up falling in love.
Scripted by Shine Ricafort, You With Me takes too long to find its romantic footing. It busies itself with details that do nothing to the plot. For example, early in the film, a flashback is presented that details how Kim was prevented by his father’s bodyguards from accepting a prom proposal from an admirer. The film then continues to follow Kim as she quickly chats with her rejected admirer.
Other than to stress the point that Kim is pathetically caged since childhood or to give the actor playing Kim’s admirer a bit of screen time, those scenes could have been removed, resulting in a film that would probably be more tolerably paced. Ricafort, however, seems addicted to needless flashbacks and lengthy fillers, since the film takes every opportunity to break its already baffling narrative to show events that have happened in the past, emphasizing the director’s glaring inability to be clear and concise in his storytelling.
Failing in romance
More frustrating is how You With Me fails in the romance department.
The film is too preoccupied with showcasing how both Kim and Jayson are in the process of falling for each other. Ricafort peppers his film with scenes of the two would-be lovers delighting at the thought of being in love that he forgets to weave scenes where both of them are truly in love. As a result, the pains and aches that the film attempts to communicate when it unveils its big reveals are hugely ineffective.
The film is all about infatuation and never attempts to communicate how the two characters have grown to feel love for each other.
It also doesn’t help that Seron and Hyun Woo lack any real chemistry. Individually, they’re fine, making most of their underwritten characters with whatever charm and charisma they can spare. When they are together however, there is really nothing except rehearsed smiles and embraces that are tritely accompanied by syrupy love songs that don’t really add any emotion to the uninspired montages. It is all very forced, and while the film has moments that could have worked if only Ricafort attempted to be more inventive, the whole thing is just too dismally derivative to be any real source of delight.
Silly, dubious, and unsophisticated
In the end, You With Me has a story that is too silly to hold the romance together. Its characters have motivations that are dubious. Its crafting is far too unsophisticated.
Drab and dull, the film doesn’t even attempt to say anything about the differences in its two lovers’ cultures because it is simply too attached to its nonsensical conceits. It’s quite a waste. – Rappler.com
Francis Joseph Cruz litigates for a living and writes about cinema for fun. The first Filipino movie he saw in the theaters was Carlo J. Caparas' 'Tirad Pass.' Since then, he’s been on a mission to find better memories with Philippine cinema.