'Me And You And Everyone We Know’ is a 2005 comedy film directed and written by Miranda July. The film follows a loose cast of characters, mainly revolving around a newly divorced father and his two young sons, and explores the different existential problems for people at difference stages of their life. There was a dramatic element to the film but the film was primarily a comedy, a rather quirky one at that, where awkward and different people deal with various levels of problems ranging from the ludicrous to the banal.
One of the major plotlines of the film was the budding romance between Richard (John Hawkes) and Christine (Miranda July). They are both quirky in their own way and the initial connection between the two was relatively bumpy; along with their relationship, we also get to follow his two sons, a pair of teen girls, Richard’s co-worker and a few other characters. All of their actions and stories are intersected, in one way or another, in this mosaic of life experience. The film approached themes of sexuality in a way that is reminiscent of Wes Anderson, in the sense that it trivialized the situation with heightened dialogue and rendered it menial, while utilizing the subject matter as a way to generate off-kilter comedy. There were attempts at something different and unique when portraying the existential crises but at times, I was confused as to what of her approach was exactly. Perhaps I simply didn’t understand what the film was trying to achieve but I did understand there is an undercurrent of self-reflexivity in the film where it acknowledges the absurdity of certain situations. Additionally, the film poked fun at certain romantic/dramatic tropes but this seemed to have contradicted the conclusion of the film, which reaffirms my criticism for the structure. The film was neatly tied up at the end, emphasizing that the film isn’t outside the boundary of “mainstream” narrative cinema.
The film was shot on HD video and it certainly looked that way. The look and feel corresponded well with the narrative content of the film since Miranda used video in her artwork and videos of photos as part of her oeuvre. The reality portrayed was one that was textually and affectively, banal and normal; the film created a backdrop of a mid-sized town, American suburbia that felt realistic beyond the point of verisimilitude. The aesthetic feel was a contrast to the heightened character portrayals; the film created a “bizzaro” world tapestry of quirkiness that was supposed to be funny and heartfelt.
This film was not my cup of tea and frankly, I don’t feel like I fully understood the point of the film. The comedy didn’t quite work for me and the emotion fell flat as well. There were times where I could feel some attachment to the characters, but I willingly put it down because of my dislike for the film itself. I actually felt a deep sense of annoyance with the feel of the film; I was, to put it mildly, a resistant spectator. However, given the inherent subjectivity of the cinematic experience, I encourage everyone to at least give the film a chance.
This film will be screened by CINSSU as part of the Free Friday Films program this Friday October 24th at Alumni Hall.