Shot through with melancholy, yet whimsical and touching, Me, You and Everyone We Know was one of the finest films in 2005. Writer, director and star Miranda July created a truly outstanding film, one which will remind you why cinema can be the most evocative of art forms.
It begins with a separation, as Richard (Hawkes) and Pam decide who should own their possessions. In a desperate attempt to feel something, anything, Richard sets fire to his hand. Meanwhile Christine (July) creates art in her tiny flat, giving voices to people in photographs. Both are destined to meet, but as all will know, the path to true love is never a simple one. Fortunately this isn’t a typical indie rom-com, with kooky and quirky if clichéd characters, it also revolves around various members of the community that Richard and Christine interact with, along with his children and the other kids they know.
Me, You and Everyone We Know bares some comparisons with Todd Solondz’s Happiness, featuring a selection of dysfunctional characters who are desperately unhappy, yet initially unaware of how to change their circumstances. It also deals with teenage sexuality, but in a very careful way, it’s verbally explicit, yet somewhat poignant, and most importantly, never exploitative. But unlike Solondz’s work, this is joyously life affirming. If Solondz was to have a six year old boy meet someone from an internet chatroom, it’d most likely be unbearably horrible to witness – here, that scene is sweetly funny, and borders on the profound.
These are characters whose loneliness echoes throughout their souls, who know there has to be more to life than this, and eventually discover what they’ve been missing, so perhaps it’s unsurprising that comparisons with Lost In Translation have been made. But they’re not really accurate, this is a far more honest and much easier to relate to comedy, which has a far higher quality of writing and performances.