Me and You and Everyone We Know
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir-scr Miranda July
with John Hawkes, Miranda July, Miles Thompson, Brandon Ratcliff, Carlie Westerman, Natasha Slayton, Najarra Townsend, Hector Elias, Ellen Geer, Brad William Henke, Tracy Wright, JoNell Kennedy
release US 17.Jun.05,
UK 19.Aug.05
05/US FilmFour 1h30

Come together: Hawkes and July

Originality of Vision award:

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Me and You and Everyone We Know It's a shame the general public isn't more adventurous about seeing films with unknown casts and original structures, because this artful and bracingly original indie will thoroughly engage anyone who seeks it out.

Richard (Hawkes) feels so numb after his wife (Kennedy) throws him out that he lights his hand on fire. His sons (Thompson and Ratcliff) are also fascinated by the concept of human connection, indulging in anonymous internet chat and provocative interaction with three neighbour girls (Westerman, Slayton and Townsend). Meanwhile, the struggling performance artist Christine (July) thinks she knows she's finally found a kindred soul when she meets Richard.

At its core this is an extremely tentative romance, but July constructs it in a bracingly original way that refuses to follow standard movie rules. She widens out to encompass all of the people (the baggage?) that accompany someone into any relationship. And the result is a startlingly involving film--each character's journey is specific and meaningful, examining expectations and hidden desires that are constantly surprising both to the characters themselves and to us as viewers.

Performances are raw and natural. Hawkes and July are wonderfully realistic characters we can fully identify with their fearful optimism and thinly veiled emotions. And the young cast is especially strong, daring to confront realistic issues that seem shocking on screen simply because filmmakers are usually too timid to hint at the fact that children have aspirations that just might involve sexuality. And at the other end of the spectrum, there's a fine pair of performances from Elias and Greer as an elderly couple Christine works with.

This is an introspective, observant film with a deeply warped sense of humour. July taps into something almost achingly true about humanity, echoed in several key scenes (the hand burning, a doomed goldfish, the contents of one character's hope chest). We all carry within us the concept of a relationship that will last forever; the trick is learning how to express this to those around us. And July offers us a witty suggestion: ))<>(( But you'll have to see the film for an explanation.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 17.Jun.05

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2005 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall