Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Me and You and Everyone you know

One of the many amazing things about Miranda July's debut film is that there doesn't seem to be a tribute of vision.

The movie is uniquely her own.

One of the sad facts about modern American films is that while watching them, there always seems to be references, or tributes, or even straight rip offs of other movies. It's probably because of the success of filmmakers like Robert Rodriguez, Steven Soderbergh, and Kevin Smith.

The case is particularly true of Independent Film. Rather than trusting their own voices, filmmakers seem to be aiming to be the next Quentin Tarantino.

One finds out pretty quick while watching Me and You and Everyone you know that Miranda July doesn't give a shit what people think. She's telling a story, and telling it her way.

The movie is a quirky, stylish, and honest romance.

Notice that I didn't call it a Romantic comedy.

Sure the movie is funny, and does have the romantic comedy structure. But the movie doesn't seem too concerned about trying to make people laugh, or setting up jokes, or putting people in absurd situations. Under Miranda July's unique writing, and directing, the film is more interested in just observing the honesty of the characters. Almost like observing people in line at the grocery store. But what makes the experience unique, and theatrical is that the characters talk in a poetic simplicity, and sometimes..... to even their own surprise there is artistic poignancy, and weight to what they say and do.

It's not surprising that Miranda July is a performance artist. The film does have that sensibility, but it's not pretentious like most performance art. Instead it's heartwarming and likable.

At the heart of the movie is the story of Richard Swersey, played by Deadwood's John Hawkes, a divorced father of two, who's trying to put his life back together. At his job he runs into Christine Jesperson, a strugling, lonely, performance artist. Around these two people are other characters who share Christine and Richard's need to somehow connect in a world that's sterile, and seemingly heartless.

The movie is an enjoyable triumph. There are tons of scenes that I could describe, but I don't want to ruin it.

In lesser hands the movie could easily fall apart but Miranda July succeeds winningly, and is definitely a voice to look out for in the future. It's especially fortunate considering the lack of unique, interesting female writers, and directors in the business.

Don't let this movie slip by.

1 comment:

Lons said...

Yeah, it's pretty great. I like that it's so unassuming. July has no pretense about making some sort of life-altering statement, or blowing everyone's mind with her outrageous debut. It's just a keenly observant, funny little movie about interesting, thoughtful people.

Vying for place in my Top Ten right now, along with several other amazing films I've seen in the past few weeks.