Thursday, 2 August 2012
Me and You and Everyone We Know
This film is as quirky as the picture above and as a consequence I imagine viewers will either love it or be left wondering why did I waste 90 minutes watching that! For those who like their Indie cinema to be two blocks ahead of everything else, then this debut feature written by and starring Miranda July will excite. For those who simply want to sit and allow a story to wash over them, this will disappoint.
The universal scope of the title is not really matched by the breadth of the film. In essence it is an honest and different attempt to explore the age-old chestnut of relationships, intimacy and sexual expression. This film manages to explore all three with a six year-old boy, some pubescent teens, thirty-somethings and also an older couple. The stories of the four generations are interwoven in both overt and hidden ways but the film is an ensemble piece that at times feels a bit claustrophobic as a result.
Richard is at the point of separating from his wife ahead of divorce. He has primary care of their two sons aged 6 and 14. He at one and the same time is both mesmerised and yet terrorised by the possibilities that life offers. At one stage he sets fire to his own hand - bizarre. He works as a salesperson in a shoe shop in an anonymous mall where he meets Christine. Neither are natural chat-up artists but both long for intimacy - not necessarily sexual. Christine's chasing after Richard forms the spine of the story.
Around that spine a number of characters of varying ages explore relationship, intimacy and sexual expression. Most alarmingly the 6 year-old gets into an on line chat room and cuts and pastes his way to some highly inappropriate conversation. He then ends up meeting his co-fantasist in a park on a bench! Two young teenage girls curious about sex and eager to outperform one another offer a 'Johnny ha ha' to the 14 year old. He subsequently befriends a 10 year-old girl next door who is busy buying appliances and linen for Hope Chest to form her dowry. Yes - it's all more than a bit weird. The fact that Christine is an avant-garde artist who makes movies out of other peoples holiday snaps and films her feet as she warbles monotonously into a microphone goes some way to setting the context.
I'm surprised that this film scores so highly on both IMDb (73%) and Rotten Tomatoes (83%) - but I guess it gets referred by word-of-mouth and so plugs into its niche effectively. I would honestly struggle to recommend this whole-heartedly. I hope I have given sufficient flavour so that folk can make up their own mind. This film has much that would prompt group discussion around relationships, attitudes to sex and the longing for intimacy that we all crave. It would allow plenty of discussion on ethical and moral issues that flow from these areas. I'm going to give it 6/10.