Worth A Look: 40.38%
Pretty Bad: 5.77%
Total Crap: 1.92%
6 reviews, 16 user ratings
|Me and You and Everyone We Know
by Jason Whyte
In December of last year, I was accepted to cover the 2005 Sundance Film Festival but was unable to attend due to a crazy work schedule and on the kind of blind assumption that my application would never be accepted. When I was, I tried to get my vacation time off so I could fly out to Utah and freeze in the cold to see as many films as humanly possible and rub a few shoulders. Alas, it did not work out and I am slowly starting to get to see many of the festival’s selections.And as 2005 moves along and as we are starting to see them all (well, the ones that get a distributor, anyway), I came out of a recent August afternoon screening of Me and You and Everyone We Know with my memories about not being able to go Park City, Utah this last January flooding back to me. If I was there, I would have emerged out this movie in Park City wanting to give writer/director Miranda July a hug.
"What an original blend of characters and storytelling. Amazing work."
What Ms. July has done here is nothing short of wonderful. This is a movie that is difficult to talk about, let alone write about, since it covers so many broad topics of love, loneliness and the human condition and its need to belong. The film looks as a series of characters from all different walks of life and how they all work off one another. And it isn’t just adults, but children as well.
The film opens on Christine (July) who is a performance artist who has a day job driving the elderly. When she takes one of her clients to a department store, she becomes intrigued by Richard (John Hawkes) who sells shoes there. We have already met John earlier when his wife has left him, where he burns his hand when trying to impress his children. The pain of the divorce is not just in his hand and does not want to deal with Christine.
Richard’s children are also part of the central characters to the story. Young Robby (Brandon Ratcliff) is curious about the world around him and appears on an adult chat room…but has no clue of exactly what the messages mean. His older brother Peter (Miles Thompson) is getting attention from two teenage lolita’s in the neighbourhood (Natasha Slayton and Najarra Townsend), who themselves are the target of an older man who teases them with dirty messages on his window infront of their school bus stop. Peter, meanwhile, finds an attraction to the young Sylvie (Carlie Westerman) who appears to have an addiction for collecting household appliances for when she gets married down the road.
The film continues on Christine as she takes her performance video to a local art gallery in the hopes to have it showcased. When she arrives in the building, she finds the curator in the elevator. The curator asks the tape to be mailed in. “But can’t I just hand it to you?” Christine asks. The curator’s response is painful: “It would get lost. It’s best to mail it in.” I can’t tell you the amount of times where people insist that they have something mailed in even if you’re in the neighbourhood and dropping it off. It means something more to them if they receive it as mail.
One miraculous scene follows after another as we see these people trying to connect to one another, but the world isn’t accepting. Christine and Richard take a walk down a street to his car and have a conversation that is weird and original; Christine believes that their connection will only last until the end of the street and therefore this is their entire life together, and the way the film finalizes the scene with the stop sign is one of the best moments I’ve seen in a movie this year.
There are also joyous moments with the children, especially the moments where Robby continues his online chats with an anonymous person on the other end (I also liked how he copy/pasted text instead of typing letters), and a fascinating moment where Sylvie, in the kitchenware department, grills the saleslady on new hardware for her collection. I don’t know what’s more amusing; the look on the saleslady’s face as she sees her, or Sylvie’s reaction to when the saleslady comments that everything will be computerized.
Ms. July, a performance artist who we can tell has a world of imagination in those doe eyes of hers – if they ever made a movie about her life, Rachel Griffiths would be the perfect choice to play her – takes her ideals to the cinema, and it’s something that we need more of these days. Her performance is weird and brilliant all at once, and it works well off John Hawkes, an actor who I have admired for years even if he was playing smaller parts in Blue Streak and The Perfect Storm, and makes you forget about all of it in a daring and original performance. All of the kids in the film also give solid work.We have been seeing a lot of stories of connecting characters these days, but here is a movie that is totally unique. This is not a connecting character story like “Crash” and how people bounce from racism and chance but rather how a small group of people live and breathe around each other, as different and weird as they are. I think that anybody who finds themselves towards “Me and You and Everyone We Know” film and looks deep into the screen will not only find a part of themselves but a better understanding of the uniqueness of people around them.
link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11224&reviewer=350
originally posted: 08/15/05 03:35:45
|OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston. For more in the 2005 Independent Film Festival of Boston series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 CineVegas Film Festival For more in the 2005 CineVegas Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Atlanta Film Festival For more in the 2005 Atlanta Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Brisbane Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Brisbane Film Festival series, click here.