Monday, July 02, 2007

Me and You and Everyone We Know (Movie Review)

I can't for the life of me come to a definite opinion about this movie.

On one hand I found Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) to be unnecessarily profane, with too much of the obscene centering uncomfortably around minors.

On the other: I found it to be a rather thoughtful portrayal of how so many of us "pass the time" between sunrise and sunset (and vice versa), day after day.

Although the film surveys several characters, I suppose we could say the central two are the female performing artist (played by writer/director Miranda July) and the scrawny, newly separated shoe salesman (played by John Hawkes). Both are terribly lonely (not to mention charmingly quirky) but manage the day to day as so many of us do.

When they meet, there's an obvious connection; but Hawkes' character responds with a terrified retreat, whereas July does her best Amelie to woo him.

And July's character did remind me of Amelie though — I'm sorry to say — I didn't find "Christine" to be anywhere near as charming. But then again, that's not an entirely fair comparison: while I wouldn't hesitate to say Amelie is a more enjoyable film than Me and You and Everyone We Know, I also realize that the latter is trying to pack a lot more in.

So it's not entirely a film about two lonely people trying to find each other. It's a film about a world of lonely people, their secret quirky lives, and the tiny, infinitesimal (and yet at times insurmountable) gaps that separate them.

Still, at times I felt like this film tried too hard to achieve its Indie agenda, exposing itself as a wannabe rather than the genuine thing. And I hate to say that about it, because I do think Everyone We Know has its moments.

And also: be on the look out for the two boys who play Hawkes' sons. While I hated to see them in such awkward situations (the actors, not their characters), I think they both did splendidly. And the littlest one, probably six when this was filmed, is little short of a prodigy.

I just hope he didn't suffer permanent emotional damage as a result of his lines.


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