Be With Me

"Excellent"

Be With Me Review


The Singapore film industry doesn't produce much, but when it does, the results are typically offbeat and fascinating. Be With Me is a powerful meditation on all kinds of love that packs its punch in three delicately connected stories, all of which ultimately revolve around one remarkable woman.

Theresa Chan, who plays herself, is a 61-year-old blind and deaf woman who, like Helen Keller, learned how to speak and has had a remarkable life, much of which is recounted in silent subtitles that show on screen as she moves slowly through her apartment tending to her daily chores. Hearing her speak English with her Chinese/deaf-mute accent is really trippy. She's an incredible life force, and if the film sometimes feels more like a biography of her than a drama, no problem. She's amazing.

Theresa's young friend (Lawrence Yong) is translating her autobiography, and he eventually shares it with his elderly shopkeeper father (Chiew Yung Ching), whose wife has just died. He can't let her go. Her spirit still hovers around him as he cooks gourmet delicacies, some of which his son shares with Theresa. His performance, too, is nearly silent, but his grief is clearly visible in his haggard face, and only Theresa's soothing written words, and the cooking he does for her, can calm his shattered soul.

Across town, two cute teenage girls, Jackie (Ezzan Lee) and Sam (Samantha Tang), are engaged in a sexy flirtation that takes place as much via text message as it does in person. When Sam "cheats" on Jackie by going to the ice cream parlor with a boy, Jackie flies into a jealous rage that's painfully familiar to any lovelorn adolescent. It isn't long before she's showing up at Sam's house uninvited and ringing her doorbell. Sam, however, just keeps pressing the Delete button on her phone every time a new text message arrives.

Finally, there's Fatty (Seet Keng Yew), a foodaholic security guard with a secret crush on the lovely Ann (Lynn Poh), who works in his office building. This lovable loser, who is routinely abused by both his brother and his father, buys fancy stationery and spends most of his screen time trying to compose a secret admirer letter to Ann, when he isn't eating, that is.

Lost love, jealous love, unrequited love. It's the whole human condition revealed in tiny moments of deep understanding carefully arranged by director/co-writer Eric Khoo, who crafts his characters and their hum-drum but detailed surroundings with an artist's touch. Wonderful things will happen. Terrible things will happen. Throughout it all we hear more and more of Theresa's tumultuous life story and watch her type away and reveal her personal philosophy of love, which is surprisingly profound given that she never married and lives alone.

Paths cross, lives intertwine (sometimes only briefly), and nothing resolves easily. That's life, that's love. Be With Me puts it all out there with tremendous yet understated power.

Her advice: Always wear your retainer.



Be With Me

Facts and Figures

Run time: 93 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 8th September 2005

Distributed by: Film Movement

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Eric Khoo

Producer: Brian Hong

Starring: Chiew Sung Ching as Father

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