MIA (Ruth Vega Fernandez) and FRIDA (Liv Mjönes), both in their thirties, meet each other for the first time at their parents’ engagement party. Mia’s father, Lasse (Krister Henriksson), is about to get married to Frida’s mother, Elizabeth (Lena Endre), which will make Mia and Frida stepsisters. Lasse’s daughter, Mia, has not visited her father in years and arrives with her boyfriend, Tim (Joakim Nätterqvist), with whom she is about to get married. As Mia and Frida get to know one another, strong emotions begin to stir between them. Their relationship will turn everything upside down for everyone close to them with dramatic consequences. (Imdb)
Kyss Mig’s English title, With Every Heartbeat, holds to the pattern started by Fucking Åmål , retitled Show Me Love for English distribution, that Swedish films about lesbians apparently must be titled with the names of Robyn songs; also like that film, With Every Hearbeat’s writer-director Alexandra-Therese Keining explores sexual confusion and sexual awakening. But instead of the liminal milieu of high school angst, Mia (Ruth Vega Fernandez) and Frida (Liv Mjönes) are professional adults with seemingly stable lives thrown for a loop by the thunderbolt of attraction. They meet at the engagement party for Frida’s mother, Elisabeth (Lena Endre), and Mia’s father, Lasse (Krister Henriksson), and there’s a spark between the two soon-to-be-stepsisters that blossoms into forbidden love with all the attendant complications. Mia is not only conflicted about her sexuality, but about betraying her fiancé, Tim (Joakim Nätterqvist); Frida may already be out, but she has other issues of her own.
It would certainly be easy enough to capture this stutter-step courtship by filming its gorgeous leads against gorgeous Swedish backdrops and calling it a day, but Keining goes further and invests the proceedings with real psychological weight. An early scene captures Mia as she’s watching what appears to be a flirtatious moment between Tim and Frida; the frame lingers on Mia’s pang of jealousy. Keining traces the momentary glances between the two women, and it’s a testament to characterization that we can look back on that beat and sense Mia’s misrecognition of her own feelings. Frida and Mia are often captured in painterly compositions with a geometric precision that draws us to the contemplation of their internal psychology; it’s a visual counterpoint to the film’s refusal to find easy villains in this scenario. Instead, the romance comes across as a mess of roiling passions in a complex web of interconnections and unspoken obligations.
Unfortunately, that stance that is seemingly abandoned by a third act that throws nuance to the wind; we take a whiplash-level turn toward transparent theatrics and a finale that not only tries to tie up the plot in a neat little bow, but also depends on characters conveniently forgetting that they have access to cell phones. It’s a shame considering the rest of the film is so psychologically and visually sharp. (Oscar Moralde, slantmagazine.com)