Me and You and Everyone We Know review by Tom Blain

Change of Pace

For many, summer is the time to hit the theatres. However, the during the past few years (closer to an eternity I imagine), summers have become synonymous with summer blockbusters, which in turn have become synonymous for same pile of poop you saw last year, just with a different stink. So this year has its fair share of screen gems like Batman, but for the most part, its a crap shoot with many targets and every once in a while its nice to turn the volume down a notch and see something below the mainstream cloud. Venturing into the independent theatres of downtown Chicago is how I stumbled across the IFC Film Me and You and Everyone We Know.

Me and You and Everyone We Know chronicles the days leading up to the budding relationship between performance artist Christine Jesperson (Miranda July) and shoe salesman Richard Swersey (John Hawkes). And as you can guess from the title there are also parallel stories about the people that they know. We open with Christine, putting the final touches on her newest piece of art. She creates using her digital camcorder to record photographs (mostly vacation photographs taken from her elderly friends) while she fills in the loving two-way dialogue. From her work there is a sense of loneliness; she projects her soft longing voice and soul onto these images of someone elses moment of bliss. Despite her quiet demeanor, she is trying to be noticed; not only by the curator of a contemporary museum but also by the floppy haired Richard. Richard is going through a divorce with his wife, and its apparently not by his choosing. He is a bit scruffy looking and appears to lack much motivation; he also seems puzzled as to why he is getting divorced. They both meet, with idiosyncrasies and odd ticks on full display and its amazing that that two keep coming together. It seems the one thing they have in common is the need for someone that needs them.

On the periphery there are a number of side stories, mostly about children who are for the most part figuring out things on their own. Richards children, Peter and Robby get a dangerous education on sex from Internet chat rooms on a nightly basis. Two girls, who go to school with Peter, are experimental but at the same time tentative when it comes to sex. Their curiosity is piqued by a series of dirty messages from Richards pedophile co-worker Andrew. On the lighter side, Sylvie is the young girl next door, and has dowry ambitions and a serious, motherly demeanor that far exceeds her elementary years. They far exceed my adult years.

Thirty minutes into the film I am wondering, Where are the parents? The young characters in this movie seem to get little guidance from self-absorbed parents who use tools such as television or even worse, the Internet, to keep their kids occupied. Many of the questions the children should be asking their parents, they are asking perverse strangers. This is what gives the movie its creepy edge. No scratch that the fact that many of what I saw on screen is probably true for many of todays youth gives the movie its creepy edge. Its not to say that these scenes are disturbing in a Harmony Korine sense; luckily there is a streak of humor in each of these scenes, and in most cases they end harmlessly.

In the end, Me and You turns out to be quite a clever piece of film making. Its strange and counterculture characters may make it hard for some audiences to digest, but for others they will be a delightful departure from the recycled bits in most Hollywood reruns. In the end most loose ends become tightly knotted and lessons are learned (including the lesson taught to one character who learns what really goes back and forth on the internet). Most importantly the characters that enter the film the most unhappy exit the screen looking forward to much more.




6 out of 10 Jackasses
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