A masterpiece. For me, anyway, and in the end that's all that really counts. There are infinite stories out there. Find the ones that move you, and don't worry about the rest. I've offically arrived at the "life's too short, enjoy what moves you" stage of my half-assed critical framework.
I heard some people bitching on the way out in front of me -- they were expecting the trippier Gondry. Madness. I'll take a straight, unironic shot to the heart any time over artistic but emotionally sterile surrealism. It may be odd to say, but Dave Chappelle's block party -- his actual block party, not just the movie Gondry shot -- plainly influenced Gondry's writing and shooting here. Kind of a weird recursive loop. Gondry, in shooting the raw emotions of the block party, discovers/creates footage that then plainly echo in Be Kind. That sounds weird, but seeing as the first is a pseudo-documentary, I think the phrasing's appropriate.
It may also be that the story has particular resonance for anyone who tells stories for a living. There are some genuinely subversive moments in here, and some lovely subtle little writing ... for the lack of a better term, sleights-of-hand, but I mean that as a compliment to their apparent effortlessness and subtlety than any connotation of trickery. Performances are great all 'round, with Jack Black managing to rein it in a bit, while Mos Def continues to knock me on my ass.
Go tomorrow, and bring a friend.