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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5.56%
Worth A Look88.89%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 5.56%

2 reviews, 6 user ratings

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Me Without You
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by Thom

"Girls gone wild and gone civil again."
4 stars

John Hughes, in Pretty in Pink, managed to capture the flavor of a slice of America. The anti-pop, punky hipster subculture in heady Hughes teen fare is trumped mightily in this coming of age tale. Me Without You is dripping with decoration, fully embodying the spirit of the anti-pop New Wave in London and even, momentarily marries its interest in Sex, Drugs and Eyeliner to labor politics and intellectual pursuits, which is quite an accurate portrayal. Like a hard-edged, more sophisticated, Romy And Michelle, We go on the journey with two women who, over the span of two decades, go and grow through it all.

My favorite scene and one that addresses an entirely modern aspect of academia, where Kyle McLachlan who plays a lit professor, tells his charges that they shouold feel free to relate Adam Ant to Lacaan and Baudelaire. I fully appreciated the brainy background of the movie because it is entirely accurate of the Post-punk intellegentsia who, in between nodding out at clubs and shagging in bushes, were also reading. Some of them. Being “shallow” was a stigma, while the pure pop sensibility of style matters were highly praised. While this has been discussed in length over marathon acid trips and under the strobe light in underground “floating” clubs, it has hardly emerged on the radar of the cultural power brokers who are busy selling our stories back to us. Finally, a Brit gets it right for all us Americans who had to contend with reality “light”.

The film is indulgent with complex, richly drawn characters and wonderful outfits of a style that is making a comeback, but without the same substance. Used to be if someone looked the slightest bit freakish, you probably had a lot in common, aesthetically and ideologically speaking. But these days, it’s all style, unfortunately.

The tension between the brainy New wave punks like Gang of Four, the socially conscious New Order and the frittery of Adam Ant, which was all fabulous and fun are played out among the girls, who keep reminding us that they are now “women”. While Holly (Michelle Williams) has a genuine interest in broody romanticism and 20th century literary criticism, Marina (Anna Friel) is a gorgeous style plate who is sexy, avant-garde and like her mother, a bit of a wreck, and usually hungover. Of course, they both like the same music and everywhere in the film are references to Siouxsie and the Banshees, Patty Smyth, the Clash, The Sex Pistols and the soundtrack is a nice blend of the erudite pop coming out of England at the time and music by Bach and Mozart, which is kind of an obvious “music appreciation” choice but they fit so perfectly with the theme of the genius rebel.

While both the girls are in college, you never know exactly what they are studying. Marina gets by just fine without cracking a spine and she ends up somehow getting what she wants, she thinks. And Holly struggles for years with words and ideas, feeling like she is always on the brink but held back by her connection to her family and to Marina.

The story is two-fold. Holly and Marina are cast adrift and learning how to deal with men and get what they want out of them are a large part of their growing up. They are trying to master their own interests and problematic desires. They are also trying to live inside each other’s lives as Harina and that relationship takes its own toll and has its own very special rewards.

Me Without You comes from a line where Marina says to Holly, “There Is No Me Without You”. I liked best that this film doesn’t stay on the nostalgia trip and brings the audience right into the present because people like me and you have a history. We aren’t just photographs, but our personalities, style and ideas have evolved over the years. Dipping back into the primal soup that helped me express what I was feeling about myself and the world throughout the eighties was exhilirating and celebratory. I’ll always be a little bit punk, a little bit disco and completely me.

That shared sensibility was a rare thing “Back Then”, like being a hippy in the Haight Ashbury, it was not common, to be among people who were freely and boldly taking risks, challenging the social order and redefining what was possible, cracking the door open a little wider for others to “break on through to the other side”.

I would be satisfied with a whole cinema of personal liberation and the messiness of real life. Movies like this not only entertain, but help clarify the muddy issues that impact everyone’s lives with the cultural hooks that keep a viewer like me riveted. This is the kind of movie I love. One that reflects me back at myself without flinching.

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originally posted: 07/02/02 17:52:27
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User Comments

5/31/15 R. Guertin A FINE movie. 4 stars
1/12/09 Shaun Wallner Interesting Movie! 4 stars
2/17/05 Phil M. Aficionado I like it when directors work to show honest relationships, and actors "get it". Quality. 4 stars
8/18/02 ronaljts shit 1 stars
7/27/02 Rachel Absolutely fantastic! Deserves to be seen. : ) 4 stars
7/08/02 Adina Leilani Schiesz withallofthepreppyteenyboppermoviesthathavecomeoutasoflately-thishasbeenabreathoffresh.air 5 stars
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