Me and You and Everyone We Know Reviews
It's been a long time since I've seen a film that has been able to find profundity in life's little moments, but Miranda July's tour de force work in Me and You and Everyone We Know is able to find gems in everyday occurrences. The most striking example of the beauty she finds in the benign happens in the third act, so I won't give in away, but the rest of the film is subtle and poignant too. And what is a better example of achieving the Altman Standard than the reveal of whom the boys are cyber-sexting with?
I did think the film occasionally got quirky for quirky's sake like Christine putting socks on her ears, but the film's concentration on these characters' oppressive and oppressing loneliness makes the things they do for attention and recognition more motivated than a film with a weaker thematic through-line.
Overall, Miranda July has a new fan, and I have a new example of why film can be a medium that communicates the occasional sublimity of life better than any other.
The only story I wasn't into is the two neighborhood Lolitas trying to bait a potential pedophile. None of their motivations were set up properly. The filmmaker Miranda July seems like a total wackjob, but I guess I'll give her props for being so open with her wackjobiness, for instance, Christine, her performance artist alter ego (I'm assuming). The goofy Casio keyboard-esque score is a bit cloying at times but oddly atmospheric.
I am very much enamored by John Hawkes' pugilist nose and sunken eyes. He's like an older, sadder version of DJ Qualls.
I have to say, it is still excellent. Miranda July has done a great job on this - both as the quirky lead actress and with directing it. This is a true to life little story with believable yet eccentric characters, all well written and all perfectly cast, though I would say they are pretty much unknowns.
Miranda plays Christine, a struggling writing/performer who drives the elderly for a day job. She meets shoe salesman, Richard (John Hawkes) who is going through a relationship breakup and adjusting to only having his two boys part time. There is an attraction between the two, but he is wary of getting involved again as his ex has been quite callous. His boys are also slight troubled. The youngest, Robby, has stuck up an internet romance with an older woman, and he makes her a proposition that i can't believe she accepts. (Obviously she does not realise he is a child). It would probably be revolting if it wasn't so beautifully and innocently written. I also like the teen girls, Heather and Rebecca, who are leading on an overweight older guy who likes to watch them, but doesn't have the nerve to do more than write notes and watch out his window. The young character, Sylvie, is also amusing, as she collects household utensils obsessively so she will have a dowry and glory box ready for her marriage. (Sylvie is about ten years old).
This kind of reminds me of Todd Solondz, another favourite director of mine, but these characters are basically good, where a lot of his aren't so much. A movie about flawed and real people that is sad as well as funny.
I love this movie and highly recommend it!
A lonely shoe salesman and an eccentric performance artist struggle to connect in this unique take on contemporary life.
A remarkable first film for the incredibly gifted and talented July, who wrote, directed and co-stars in this winning comedy/drama character study with eccentric bumps and grinds - just like life! - with an admirable quirky sense of mischief and surprisingly poignant knack for the soulful. Hawkes - in an equally amazing performance of quiet, implosive substance - stars as a recently separated family man and shoe salesman who attempts to adjust somewhat reluctantly to the jarring effects of his life in transition and to desperately bond with his seemingly indifferent eldest son Thompson (very good as well) and the adorably precocious and alarmingly sweet and natural Ratcliff, his youngest. In the midst he meets up with July's slightly askew yet also desiring to be loved artist-wannabe who does her best to get by with the daily drudgeries and pitfalls with a smile, upbeat persona and self-confidence thisclose to coming to a halt and perhaps a breakdown despite her efforts. July has restored my faith in independent film-making and in general film going - one of the best films I have seen this year and in her gracefully off-beat touchstones to the human spirit and is a joy to watch this instant perfect gem unspool. Her somewhat unorthodox/semi-improvised stylings, clever visuals (her pas de deus with a video camera and her shoes echo Charlie Chaplin's dinner roll dance in The Gold Rush!) and awe-inspiring handle with her actors is a triumph in not being too pleased with the proceedings and lets them just be. Also noteworthy is her other child actress, Westerman - resembling a Cherry Jones Mini-Me - with her years beyond her demeanor and assured tone of self-discipline and domestic docility is one of the funniest/saddest things I've ever seen committed to celluloid. The true stunner is the pre-adolescent Ratcliff with his innocent angel face as he has one of cinema's most unlikely meet-cutes of all time in a computer sex-chat lounge that results in one of the most heartbreakingly sweet encounters between a couple that could've been (trust me this is worth the price of admission alone!) It will have you laughing out loud at the absurdity while the occasional jaw-drop of stony silence at the sudden lump-in-the-throat-en-rush of tears. I eagerly await July's next foray.
Richard Swersey: You want the short version or the long one?
Christine Jesperson: The long one.
Richard Swersey: I tried to save my life but it didn't work.
Christine Jesperson: Wow. What's the short one?
Richard Swersey: I burned it.
Here's a little movie that easily fits into the category of offbeat and quirky, but that is never a bad thing if its an enjoyable experience.
Writer and director Miranda July, who also stars in the film and is in fact a contemporary artist besides filmmaker, shows a story containing a number of characters, most living in the same neighborhood, all communicating in a way that would be understood by what the title suggests applied to them.
The biggest star would be John Hawkes, a man who has appeared in plenty of small roles over the years, and is probably recognized by moviegoers as "hey its that guy." Here he is a recently separated man, trying to make his new home work for him and his two boys.
Robby: Ask her if she likes baloney.
The two boys also have events going on in their lives, including internet chat room conversations that they are too young to be involved in, and their relationship to the neighboring girls.
One of these girls has a hope chest full of items for when she gets married, she's probably around 11 years old. Two other girls deal with a conversation they were to young to be having with an older man and what could be...
Then there's July's character, Christine who has a cab service for the elderly as well as a life in creating contemporary art, submitting it to people who have their own ways in considering what's "good."
So all of this could sound like a jumble when describing it, but it is a wonderful indie comedy, full of moments that are very nice and poignant.
Andrew: Dude, did you just give her the family discount?
Richard Swersey: Yeah. She's my neighbor, and I'm trying to work on my karma. Do you know what karma means?
Richard Swersey: It means that she owes me one.
Along with the characters, the soundtrack too, is very quirky, and even goes to the point of fitting in some Cody Chestnut tunes, an artist I particularly like, so kudos.
The characters are all well handled. The actors know what they are doing, particularly some of these child actors, the youngest son is also very adorable.
This movie isn't as much about having a defined plot, as it is about showing a few weeks in the lives of these people and what comes from chance encounters, followed by certain character arcs and resolutions to the all of the little strands.
It's a large ensemble movie that gave me the same sort of curious and comforting feeling I got when I watched Amelie or Punch-Drunk-Love for the first time.
Very nice and offbeat movie.
Richard Swersey: Yeah, the "Ice Land" sign is halfway. It's the halfway point.
Christine Jesperson: Ice Land is - It's kind of like that point in a relationship, you know, where you suddenly realize it's not going to last forever. You know, you can see the end in sight. Tyrone Street.
Richard Swersey: Yeah, but we're not even there yet. We're still at the good part. We're not even sick of each other yet.
Christine Jesperson: I'm not sick of you at all.
Featuring a cast of characters who while emotionally "disturbed" in various degrees... are all still completely likeable and captivating.
This strange and often surreal tale would not have been as engaging if it weren't for the excellent cast attached to it.
The ENTIRE cast was superb, including the younger memebers, who (for me) "break" more often then "make" a film.