Besame Mucho (2001)

Directed by
Very nicely put together
Reviewed by Simon on 2002-09-23

Also known, rather less elegantly, as "Kiss Me Much". I have to confess I picked this up purely on the strength of the DVD case showing an extremely attractive woman showing quite a bit of cleavage . This proves to be one of those deceptive DVD cases though... whilst the female lead is indeed attractive, she never dresses like the cover, and she is also at least a decade older than the picture makes her appear. I presume there's a lesson there about purchase decisions, but I find it unlikely I will ever learn it .

Besame Mucho is about a middle aged couple who have a happy existence with their four kids... until the man of the house loses his high paying city job because he refuses to do a crooked deal... and then finds out that a friend defaulted on a loan which he co-signed, so he now owes 100 million Won or forfeit his house. The movie is about the struggles that the couple go through to try and keep their family together, and asks ultimately to what lengths would you go to do it?

I was looking forward to something bleak and depressing from the movie, so I was quite alarmed when the opening moments were quite light and comedic. The interplay between dad, mom and kid,kid,kid,kid was quite charming though, so I apprehensively decided to go with the flow. Thankfully, the cheerful beginning is merely a disarming technique to make you care for the people before it puts them through a small hell :-). The movie never gets really bleak or depressing, but does manage to visit a respectable amount of suffering on its characters.

Ultimately, I was not quite as moved by the characters situation as I think I was meant to be. Perhaps its because I'm not a family man myself, but I found myself thinking "What's the big deal?" at some of the sacrifices they make and principles they uphold or not. Or maybe it's just because I'm an amoral bastard, hard to say. That's not to say that I didn't care for the family and their troubles though - they were a very believable and likeable family, and their problems made me worry for them too.

The movie is very nicely put together - good cinematography, excellent soundtrack and mostly flawless performances. I enjoyed watching it, though I'm not sure I'm particularly likely to watch it again. If you like your dramas, and are perhaps a little more family-oriented than a misanthrope like myself, I would hope you would enjoy the movie. But fair warning - if the cute chick with cleavage on the case is all you really care about, you probably won't enjoy the movie so much after all :-p