The We and the I (2013)
Critic Consensus: Michel Gondry's whimsical dramedy is occasionally unfocused, but it's still an imaginative and poignant take on the emotional complexities of young people.
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Critic Reviews for The We and the I
Credit Gondry, like Tocqueville before him, with at least re-examining tired clichés and scraping the rust off stereotypes.
An occasionally interesting glimpse into the lives of a diverse group of urban teens and their struggles, but also a film that's overly long and often annoying.
All of the kids are good in their roles, mostly as characters one assumes resemble themselves. And as any actor will tell you, playing yourself is one of the toughest gigs around.
Gondry has talent, and I think he enjoyed being with these youngsters, but the film suffers in trying to impose something vaguely like a story on a framework that boils down to teen high jinks during a bus ride.
"The We and the I" is a collection of very thin stories, many of which feel incomplete.
Organic interactions are interrupted by Gondry's words, or abandoned in favor of fantasy sequences. The film's verisimilitude too often takes a backseat to conventional storytelling and Gondry's whimsical aesthetic.
Audience Reviews for The We and the I
The kind of honest and outspoken portrayal of youth that works quite well with its use of great non-professional actors and loose storytelling, rambling on from one casual talk to the next while always keeping our full interest in its realistic, flesh-and-bone characters.
In "The We and the I," a group of high school students take the bus home on the last day of school in the Bronx. So, while the movie nails the experience of being trapped on a bus full of rambunctious teenagers, writer-director Michel Gondry is not able to separate any of the storylines well enough for any of them to stand on their own. Nor does he really have much idea how traffic really and slowly works in New York City. As the movie takes place apparently in real time, with such unusually little traffic with the exception of an unrelated accident, it would not have been surprising if the passengers had ended up halfway to New Haven by the conclusion which might have made for an intriguing finale.
The film suffers from an overabundance of characters that don't all come into focus. However, I respect Gondry for making something that feels honest while still indulging in his more whimsical styles. It is refreshing to see something about teens that doesn't always try to be "realistic" in it's world construction.
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