4.5, Southeast Asia

Be with Me

2005 / Eric Khoo > Be with Me is structurally flawed. On a pure fundamental basis, the trio of stories that create the network within the film should each have a similar level of importance and screentime to keep the balance, right? Khoo decides otherwise and starts to increase the focus on a specific one as the film progresses, weaving in a documentary style because, as we find out, one of the characters is actually a real person—Theresa Chan, the Singapore equivalent of “Helen Keller.” This mismatch of fact and fiction is jarring to us because we don’t know whether to take this as entertainment or a life lesson.

The film’s style, with a total of 2.5 minutes of dialogue in its ninety-three minute span, is sparse but elegant. Each shot is gorgeous in its own right, and the transitions are apt and don’t reek of style over substance. The unfolding of each story is judiciously spliced and paced to keep enticing us. The real meat, once it gets rolling into its third and final act, is its open-ended theory on love and loneliness. It’s a thesis of sorts in understanding the have and have-nots, and its true beauty is in the manner in which it translates this fiction into a real-life perspective. It’s heartwarming but strong, quaint and unforgettable.