Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) / Comedy-Drama
MPAA Rated: R for disturbing sexual content involving children, and language
Running Time: 91 min.
Cast: John Hawkes, Miranda July, Miles Thomposn, Brandon Ratcliff, Carlie Westerman, Hector Elias, Brad William Henke, Natasha Slayton, Najarra Townsend, Tracy Wright
Director: Miranda July
Screenplay: Miranda July
An impressive, if overly praised, debut for writer-director-costar Miranda July, who brings her offbeat outlook on life and infuses it into every scene and character of her film, Me and You and Everyone We Know. This is definitely one of those movies that will prove divisive in viewer opinions, as some people will find it brilliant for the very reasons that others will think it one of the worst movies of the year. There are certainly quite a few scenes that will keep the film from ever getting aired on network television, including some very vulgar (perhaps even obscene) moments involving sexual activities and conversations involving children, which will probably cross the line of decency in some viewers' minds. Even if it's not to every taste, this should easily appeal to people that enjoy strange and often surreal films about eccentric people, not dissimilar to the works of Todd Solondz and other independent feature makers with controversial leanings in their characters.
Several storylines interconnect to form a free-flowing narrative, although not a great deal is really resolved between the beginning and end, despite some changes in the lives of nearly all of the characters. Richard (Hawkes, Identity) is a man with a wife and two kids that make him feel invisible, so much that he'd set his hand on fire just to get their attention. His precocious boys resist his constant attention and feed into the world of the internet, finding a very adult world full of depraved people that piques their curious natures. The girls in the neighborhood are coming of age in a very fast way, with two of them looking to get their virginity behind them and become sexual beings, while a third has already mapped out her life so far in advance, she actually has bought items that her future husband and children will use later in life. Interested in Richard is a cab driver/performance artist named Christine (July), who keeps visiting his shoe store in the hopes of sparking a relationship.
Say what you will about the content, Me and You and Everyone We Know does benefit from good and likeable performances by everyone in the cast, and as written by July, they are all colorful, quirky and always quick with interesting observations. Even if the overall themes of the film don't connect with you, you'll probably find it nearly impossible to be bored by the events and conversations in the film, although a great deal of it is because of the envelope-pushing nature of the dialogue at times. The kids perform their roles exceptionally well, given the nature of things, especially when it would be hard to keep a straight face from the embarrassment they must have felt uttering some of the movie's most outrageous lines.
As good as the characterizations are, and the refreshingly original moments that make the film ultimately worthwhile, I can't say that I would go so far as to call it a genuinely great movie. There are genuinely great moments though, and for those, this film gets a recommendation, provided that the aforementioned racy dialogue involving the kids of the film doesn't easily offend you. July definitely has a sick sense of humor at times, so your mileage will certainly vary.
©2006 Vince Leo