Me and You and Everyone We Know

Director: Miranda July

U.S.A.| 2005. Colour. Dolby digital stereo. 90 min.

Winning major prizes at the Cannes and Sundance festivals, this fresh and sometimes genuinely peculiar debut feature by the American performance artist Miranda July takes a whimsical look at the difficulty of finding and keeping love. The film tracks several neighbours as their lives connect—or disconnect—in a mundane American suburb. Richard (an excellent John Hawkes) is a shoe salesman whose wife has just left him. His seven-year-old son Robby (scene-stealer Brandon Ratcliff) has more luck with the ladies, thanks to his skill at Internet courtship. July herself plays Christine, a video artist who tries to break into the art world between jobs as a driver for the elderly. Her meeting with Richard and his brood inevitably triggers hopes for companionship and love.
In July’s world, ordinary characters voice their innermost thoughts and act on secret impulses. Their actions make for moments that are alternately sad, amusing or downright surreal. Uninterested in providing any kind of expose of American suburbia, July instead focuses on the magical strangeness of an everyday world in which children want to become adults and adults hope to reclaim their youth. ‘This movie was inspired by the longing I carried around as a child, longing for the future, for someone to find me, for magic to descend upon my life and transform everything,’ July has said. It’s not too surprising, then, that the most sympathetic characters in this tender yet sometimes genuinely perverse film are all kids at heart. Indeed, the way some of the protagonists flee from romantic or sexual intimacy the moment it’s offered suggests that they might be happier living with their fantasies than with the opportunity of fulfilling them.

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