The We and the I - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The We and the I Reviews

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Super Reviewer
December 26, 2016
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.
October 22, 2016
Michael Goudry's meandering film sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't.
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2015
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.
July 27, 2015
Michel Gondry's film offers an interesting idea. A group of teenagers who "workshopped" the idea of playing variations of themselves on a bus ride on the last day of school thru the Bronx. It has its share of moments. Sometimes funny, sometimes a bit sad and aching to give voice to young adults who are often denied the opportunity. But something about it never fully comes together. It sort of feels like Gondry is so focused on getting past the stereotyping that it ends up working in opposition to that core goal.
May 20, 2015
Not the greatest film in the world but i made it through to the end.
½ April 5, 2015
I thought Adrian Brodie was in this movie for some reason but it was Michael Brodie. Pretty good movie either way.
½ August 5, 2014
Gondry's put out a dense, multi-facetted piece of work here, but he hasn't made anything profound; not enough at least. And if profundity wasn't the goal, and a day in the life of struggling kids in the Bronx was all that was meant to be here, then it's just not that interesting. You'll end up with a hundred questions to be sure, not the least of which being: why?
July 28, 2014
The film was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
July 13, 2014
That this movie exists at all is something of a miracle. It's an oxymoron: a great movie by and about high schoolers. Apparently Michel Gondry worked with these kids for three years to write and film this movie, and the effort certainly shows. But Gondry's influence is only really apparent in the creative and characteristic cinematography choices. The themes, storylines, and character arcs are all too fresh and real to come from an experienced art filmmaker. Getting genuinely representational stories from inner-city multiracial youth has to be something of a holy grail for activist filmmakers. The problem is that no high schoolers anywhere could actually make a film this good.

But these kids did it. They have a few rough edges as actors, but they always feel deeply comfortable in front of the camera, achieving a natural, improvisatory feel that really pulls off the realism of the stories. I love a good ensemble cast (death to the protagonist!), and this one is used really effectively. Most characters play into several of the ongoing story arcs, acting as side characters in each others' dramas. Each storyline features a few main characters but also enriches several others, showing how sensitive our personality and identity are to the social and situational contexts we find ourselves in.

The themes are familiar and universal - bullying, romance, sexuality, social status, etc. - but the vibrant blend of cultures embodied in these uniquely modern kids has a gritty vitality that feels very comfortable in its own skin (again the natural acting is key) and is super fun to experience vicariously. While a genius or just hard-working group of teens could easily master the technical challenges of acting and filming a work like this, it beggars belief that they could write such subtle and mature handlings of these themes (and according to the credits, they didn't, but I actually find that even harder to believe). Each arc is content to be the human story, belying interpretation, even perhaps scorning the idea that these kids' lives should fit into narratives and categories that don't belong to them. The best arcs all concern a girl named Teresa, who stands at a very unusual intersection of status, sexual identity, and consent issues - all of which the movie is confident enough to simply put out there without offering any commentary.

Far more so even then important and revolutionary representational works like Orange is the New Black, or the science fiction of Octavia Butler, The We and The I exemplifies the incredible value perspectives outside the white community, or even the cultural establishment, have in enriching art. The debate about cultural appropriation is an intellectual morass that invites overeager judgmentalism that greases the wheels to easy, pat answers. But this film is maybe the best modern example of a beautiful, fruitful, appropriate exchange and collaboration. To honor and give voice to the perspective of your source community is not just respectful (and I'm certainly not convinced it's a moral obligation): it makes a much classier, richer product. The cynic in me says that what happened here can't be replicated, but whether it can happen or not, more people should be trying to make films like The We and The I.
July 5, 2014
The minute-to-minute meat of this slice-of-city-life is thick soupy rich. One of the best teen movies in a long time and among Gondry's best also.
June 11, 2014
Where did this film go? Was it talked about at all? I found it to be a spectacular experience, both progressive and traditional (his imaginative creations of dreamlike scenes a la Georges Melies) for Gondry, and full of performances so natural I was in disbelief that it wasn't a documentary. With drama that unfolds in clear-cut Cassavetes-style and a cast of colorful characters adored by their creator as the characters of Dazed and Confused were by theirs, "The We and I" is an engaging and entertaining film.
½ March 27, 2014
Damn great little movie. Sad it didn't receive much press or attention last year. Might be his best film, actually. Can't wait to really fully review it for Smug Film
½ January 26, 2014
Je suis passé à côté. Pourquoi pas faire un film sur le sujet de la modification du comportement d'un individu quand il est intégré à un groupe... Ok. Mais là pffff. Tout ça pour ça, tous ces dialogues insupportables. Difficile d'avoir de la sympathie pour "beaugosse" même quand il baisse enfin sa garde.
½ January 21, 2014
Good film, although it is somewhat too on-the-nose.
½ October 14, 2013
Even with so many characters and different tonalities, this film achieves some charm and heartfelt narration, only let down by an out of place childish humour.
Super Reviewer
½ September 17, 2013
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.
½ August 10, 2013
I felt like I was stuck on a bus when I was watching this, which is simultaneously a boon and a bust for the film. Really all I can say is this is unremarkable.
July 25, 2013
Very realistic ! I was on that Bx. 19 bus coming from H.S. at the same exact bus stop. Very authentic. The scenery of the south Bx in the background was amazing. Enjoyed !!!
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