Monday 27 May 2024

Mubi Monday: Me And You And Everyone We Know (2005)

Some films are destined to be festival darlings. If you've been to just one or two film festivals, and if you've been trying to add some random selections into your schedule, then you will already know this. They can be films where character actors get some time to shine. There's sometimes some uncomfortable comedy mixed in with the drama. And you very rarely get a solid and definitive ending. Some films can be festival darlings AND find life after festivals, but those are few and far between. Me And You And Everyone We Know is one of those films, but I am very much aware that I may just be projecting my own appreciation of it here.

Writer-director Miranda July, making her feature debut here, also stars as a performance artist named Christine. Christine is trying to get her big break, in between a job that has her driving around the elderly (with her main client being Michael, played by Hector Elias). John Hawkes is Richard, a shoe salesman who isn't interested in any kind of break. He's struggling to deal with a separation from his wife, figuring out how to best enjoy the time with his children, Peter (Miles Thompson) and Robby (Brandon Ratcliff). Meanwhile, two young girls (Heather and Rebecca, played respectively by Natasha Slayton and Najarra Townsend) are receiving some highly inappropriate messages from a man (Brad William Henke) who should know better. Coincidentally, Peter and Robby are also sending some very rude messages to someone, but they don't know who it is they are speaking to, thanks to the wonders of the internet. Last, but not least, there's Nancy Herrington (played by Tracy Wright), a woman who has the power to actually give Christine her big break, if she is impressed by her work.

Obviously not full of spectacle and complicated flourishes, Me And You And Everyone We Know could be easily dismissed by viewers frustrated by what is "just" a low-key character piece with various people on journeys that have their life paths intersecting with one another. There's nothing here that necessarily makes this better than so many other films like it, with the notable exception of the cast. 

July is a great female lead, and she does herself a huge favour by casting the absolutely brilliant Hawkes opposite her. Hawkes is the kind of actor who rarely gets a role with this much screentime, and this is a reminder of how much he deserves to be a lead, and how watchable he is. Thompson and Ratcliff are both very good indeed, with the latter having the advantage of being sweet and innocent for many of his scenes, and Slayton and Townsend handle the difficulty of their particular plot strand with surprising ease. Herrington, Henke, and Elias are as good as everyone else, and I also have to mention JoNell Kennedy, Ellen Geer, and Carlie Westerman, who do well in lesser, but no less important, roles.

What else should I mention? Perhaps the music from Michael Andrews. It's not up there with his best work, but it's a nice accompaniment to the visuals  and (lack of) style of the film. Everything feels as if very adult themes are being presented and explored with a child-like naïveté, which is a strange and enjoyable juxtaposition that works for me as much as I can understand it not working for others.

A love or hate movie that I happen to have a soft spot for, Me And You And Everyone We Know is not one I will ever rush to recommend to others, unless I am talking movies with someone who loves John Hawkes as much as I do. If that is you then join me in the small fanbase area right here. If it's not . . . move along, nothing to see here.


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