Pros: Lots of great scenes, funny, real
Cons: Seems a bit awkward in the beginning, but once it gets going...
To me, there seem to be three types of great movies. Some you realize are great the first time you watch them, others take repeated viewings to realize their greatness. Still some dont seem great while watching them, but afterwards you realize you really have seen a special movie. Me And You And Everyone We Know fits into this last category for me. It may not be apparent on first viewing, but its wealth of great scenes and unique approach to the subject matter make it a movie that should be remembered for quite some time.
The particulars: First-timer Miranda July stars opposite a mostly no-name cast, which is hardly a problem. What exactly the plot is, though, seems somewhat of a question. The action follows a number of different people (as could be expected from the title), which is confusing enough to have many people on message boards complaining about the directionlessness of the plot. This is, however, an unfair criticism, as the various characters are obviously much more related than just being neighbors.
The main plot (or what appears to be) involves artist/cab driver Christine (July) and shoe-salesman Richard (John Hawkes)s attempts to start a relationship. Richard has cold feet due to his recent divorce, and must also take care of his two children (he theoretically splits the time with their mother, but we only ever see the kids being taken care of by Richard). It is these two children who seem to touch almost every other storyline in the movie. The youngest, Robby (Brandon Ratcliff), becomes involved in an internet sex chat room with a mysterious stranger. The oldest, Peter (Miles Thompson), however is taunted by the two teenage girls Heather (Natasha Slayton) and Rebecca (Najarra Townsend) (who in turn tease Richards much older co-worker Andrew (Brad William Henke)), while he also spends time with the 10-year-old Sylvie (Carlie Westerman), who thinks quite a bit about the future How do these all relate? Well
Christine becomes enamored with Richard sometime after her first trip to his shoe store, which was only because of the elderly man (Hector Elias) she was driving. After Christine returns, she follows Richard out to his car, which becomes the famous walking scene. While this scene is quite memorable and emotionally involving, I find the scene immediately following to be much more poignant. After parting, Richard begins to drive home in his car. He sees Christine on the way to her car, and she joyfully says she can give him a ride to her car and jumps in the seat next to him. We know these two will get together (or so we believe since theyre the stars), so I dont think that too many people would question this as being weird. Richard does though. This woman who he doesnt know anything about has been following him and has now jumped into his car (think especially if the genders had been reversed (and what this says about our society)). Either of them could have bad intentions, so he throws her out (but before we lose too much respect for him, we can see on his face that hes not sure he made the right decision). This scene practically announces that the movie will be quite different from traditional Hollywood fare, that is of course if we havent figured that out already. All of the characters can be seen as weird in some way, but this is not something that should ever be seen as bad.
We find out about Christines quirkiness right from the beginning. The opening shot is of her narrating a picture of two people watching a sunset (including all the repetitions of a vow they supposedly take). She is also not averse to saying some parting words to a goldfish in a bag, who has unfortunately been forgotten on top of a car. Richard may seem more normal, but appears to lose it sometimes as he serves his kids breakfast for dinner (just to mix things up), or sets his hand on fire in an attempt to impress his children (although notice how this coyly becomes a metaphor for the pain he feels because of the divorce). Likewise, Robby may seem like a typical 7-year-old, but he is able to skillfully maneuver around the chat room despite likely not totally understanding what he is doing, and easily walks home from school after Peter goes home sick early. Peter himself is probably the deepest character in the film, as he nervously avoids Heather and Rebecca, gives his dad the silent treatment (after he wants to restrict internet access following Robbys walk home), and yet is kind enough to try to understand Sylvie, who seems far from a normal 10-year-old.
In what leads up to perhaps the most defining moment in the film, Sylvie shows Peter her hope chest, filled with towels and other things which are meant as a gift for her future husband (remember, shes 10). The ease with which she does hides the fact that this is not something she has told everyone, which we will shortly find out. Peter approaches Sylvie while she is playing with two of her friends, and naively asks if she has found anything else for her hope chest. The look she returns says it all. I dont know what youre talking about, she says. We know she does.
Why is it the most defining moment? Because this fear of being different underlines the kind of reaction this movie will receive. Not everyones going to get it. The way it handles its subject matter, especially with the numerous children and teenagers, seems to have already received much criticism, although it never seems anything less than completely real. And with all of the storylines mingling around, it may be hard for most people to discern anything resembling a point to any of it. But the point is right there for all of us to see, in each of the characters. Sure, there may be some parts that seem close to pedophilia (although not without a clear line being drawn between fantasy and reality), but none of the characters are really bad. In fact, I would have no qualms with spending time with any of these characters. The point here is that even though they are all weird, if you take the time to look , you will see that these are all really good people. And the same goes for the movie. Yeah, it may sound a bit elitist, but its just that its really too bad for those who arent able to understand what they see. For those that are willing to take the time to look and understand, the rewards inside are amazing.