Me And You

I’ve been seeing some movies lately. I got into a friendship-testing argument with a good friend over one of them, that should tell you it’s worth seeing. It’s Miranda July’s Me And You And Everyone We Know. I loved it, my companion hated it, and was actually angry with me for liking it at all, much less loving it so completely. We argued and eventually I said “Why are you angry?” That punctured the conversation and we then decided to talk about something else. I never did get a reason for why it caused anger, but I think it was personal. And this is a film that will certainly provoke a very personal response in anyone who sees it. I like everything that Cinetrix has to say about it, especially the film’s gentleness. It’s a film that flirts with some very disturbing themes, but dances so lightly that it never crosses the  line. It is a low-fi work of art, a finely crafted one at that, a “House of Mirrors” or “Hall of Echoes” as my former Professor Carney would say. It is adorably creative, original, clever, inventive.

I most liked the film’s layering of the child-like and adult, of the purity of love with the raunch of sex, which is the film’s overarching structure. The film lays the two side by side, but never really blends them, over and over again–from the frightening yet touching and funny online chat relationship between a six-year-old boy and a 40-year-old woman, to the discomforting-yet-not-quite-dangerous flirtation between two teenage girls and a 30-ish man, to the childlike and playful nature displayed in the adult characters of Christine and Richard. And it is of course all summed up perfectly in the film’s infamous slogan, “Back and forth forever.” Loneliness, love, and the desire to connect is universal and age-blind, the film seems to say. That seems too simple, though, and I need to think more on this. All of these age-inappropriate relationships are doomed, they reveal the desire to connect without allowing it to ever actually happen. We as viewers don’t want, nor does the film want, for a 6-year-old boy to start a real-life love relationship with a 40-year-old woman. But their ability to connect in some ethereal way reveals that much of the time we really are just big kids walking around in adult bodies. Or, perhaps, that we should be. Child-like, but not childish. It is the openness and curiousness and creativity of a child that this film celebrates, and tries to protect, even in the bodies of lonely adults. Therefore it is the two characters who retain their child-like nature who do manage to connect, appropriately, while the others in aborted age-inappropriate relationships seem to have at least been awakened to that part of themselves they have left behind. And it is implied they are changed by it, and will move on in their lives now carrying it with them rather than letting it sleep.

I tend to dislike films that position two people as absolute soulmates destined for each other, which this film does–I like a little more reality in my fairy tales. I believe there are a few dozen people out there that we each are compatible with and it is our own readiness (or not-readiness) that determines whether someone is right for us. But in this film for some reason I didn’t find it grating. Perhaps it’s because at one point the male love interest actually takes Miranda to task for her silly Amelie-like behavior, injecting some reality into the fairy tale. (And also providing material for another terrific line that reveals the child-adult theme: “He turned out to be a child-killer,” she says to a friend, after he “killed” her child-like attempts to connect with him.)

I also discovered that Miranda July has a blog. I like her.

3 Responses to “Me And You”

  1. Sam
    September 17th, 2005 | 12:23 am

    sweet jesus what the fuck are you talking about?

  2. cynthia rockwell
    September 17th, 2005 | 3:38 am

    what exactly are you not understanding?

  3. Derrick
    November 15th, 2005 | 11:56 am

    very insightful,well done