Me and You and Everyone We Know (15)

Written and Directed by Miranda July
Screening at FACT from 9th-22nd September 2005

Reviewed by Adam Ford

I don’t know if this a recommendation or not, but the woman directly behind me found one particular scene so exciting that she was groaning with pleasure, unable to resist exploring her nether regions even though the cinema was far from empty and she kept knocking my chair with her flailing limbs. One thing is for sure, she must have related to the film’s central theme of alienated people struggling to connect in a world where the onward march of high technology seems to have made it no easier.

Christine (played by writer and director Miranda July) makes emotionally needy art videos that are far too interesting for the snobbish local gallery, in between ferrying elderly clients around town. Richard (John Hawkes) is a recently separated shoe salesman who spends his time adjusting to his new life and trying to make his kids talk to him rather than strangers they ‘meet’ in sex chatrooms. Inevitably, their worlds collide when Christine walks into Richard’s shop. But the path to true love never runs smooth, and the two damaged but enormously likeable characters dance a not so merry dance towards their destiny.

Around this duo spin the absorbing lives of everyone they know. Christine’s favourite passenger (Hector Elias) is watching the love of his life and new girlfriend slowly waste away from an unknown disease. The curator at the gallery is almost comically repressed. Richard’s sons – Peter (Miles Thompson) and Robby (the wonderful Brandon Ratcliff) - are making innocent little forays into the adult world. Their three young female neighbours are more than taking an interest, whilst further down the street a sweaty older man observes the youngsters from his window.

That all sounds like really heavy stuff, but somehow the director makes her first feature a truly joyful experience. Yes, there are plenty of laughs to be had, but the charm goes far deeper than that. July reminds us that life can be magical, no matter what the mundane daily grind may lead us to believe. All we have to do is go out into that alienated world and help join the dots. Hopefully the woman behind me took the message to heart, and reached out to touch somebody…

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