Me Without You
Trouble. The English prof (MacLachlan) can't believe his luck when he sleeps with Marina (Friel) ... and her best friend
dir Sandra Goldbacher
scr Sandra Goldbacher, Laurence Coriat
with Anna Friel, Michelle Williams, Kyle MacLachlan, Oliver Milburn, Trudie Styler, Allan Corduner, Deborah Findlay, Marianne Denicourt, Steve John Shepherd, Lee Williams, Nicky Henson, Adrian Lukis
release UK 23.Nov.01; US 5.Jul.02
01/UK 1h47

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
Spanning nearly 20 years of friendship, this lushly produced film captures its characters and relationships very nicely, even if it never becomes extraordinary. Marina and Holly (Friel and Williams) make a vow of solidarity as young girls in the early '70s, and sticking together isn't as easy as they think it will be. Marina is a sensual free spirit, living with her druggie mother (Styler) and her sullen, sexy brother Nat (Milburn). Next door, the intelligent and thoughtful Holly and her parents (Corduner and Findlay) listen to opera and eat together as a civilised family. As the years go by, Holly and Marina encounter various obstacles to their friendship--Holly's strong feelings for Nat, their simultaneous flings with a university prof (MacLachlan), plus other sundry boyfriends along the way.

There are basically two love stories here--Holly and Marina's friendship, which is a rollercoaster, and Holly and Nat's romance, which is basically a film of its own, complete with fantasies and twists. There isn't a weak link in the cast, as each actor brings humour and transparency to their role. Friel and Williams beautifully convey the teen-to-adult transformation convincingly (unlike poor Drew Barrymore in the vaguely similar Riding in Cars With Boys). And the period detail is richly textured without relying on too many cliches. (If everyone in Britain really dressed like Adam Ant in the '80s, I'm glad I wasn't here to see it.) But the whole thing is just too serious, focussing on big announcements and dramatic incidents, internal tensions and profound yearnings. Like her previous film (The Governess), Goldbacher doesn't seem content to just tell a good story well; she has to hyperventilate it. And in so doing she weakens its foundations just a little.
adult themes and situations, drugs, language cert 15 25.Oct.01

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Gillian, Edinburgh: "I just watched this film and thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact it took me back to my teenage years - not quite as harrowing! How I would have loved Nat - I think a lot of females would be happy with Oliver! It was an enjoyable film, hopefully not everyone will have such scary memories, but I thoroughly enjoyed it (Thanks Nat!)." (11.Jun.03)
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall