A sweetly humorous tale of an unconventional family unit involving one wife and three husbands who each father a son, Me You Them invites comparison with the vintage Brazilian comedy Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. Reportedly based on a TV news item about a woman living in a similarly extended menage for ten years, the story has been satisfyingly embroidered to chart the family’s bumpy formation and its eventual arrival at a semblance of chaotic harmony.
Polygamous heroine Darlene (Regina Case) is not especially young or gorgeous but still has plenty of spirit. Pregnant and unhitched, she says goodbye to her aged mother and her dusty settlement town in the dry wasteland of north-eastern Brazil and sets off to get married. The wedding doesn’t happen and she returns home three years later with a son. Her casual remark to her neighbour Osias (Lima Duarte) prompts an instant marriage proposal, which Darlene accepts with unromantic pragmatism.
Elena Soarez’s screenplay is refreshingly non-judgemental, depicting Darlene’s blithe accumulation of men as a perfectly natural process given her circumstances. Accomplished director Andrucha Waddington has an appealingly gentle touch, never forcing the understated comedy, which steadily gathers steam and becomes increasingly contagious as the story unfolds. Along with some sparingly used songs and music by Gilberto Gil, the handsome production benefits considerably from Breno Silveira’s beautiful wide-screen cinematography, which draws out the warm tones of the wild, scorched landscape, rustic houses and dazzling blue skies.
Brazil/U.S.A./Portugal, 2000.English subtitles. Colour. Anamorphic. Dolby digital stereo. 105 mins.