By: Denis Blot
“Email wouldn’t even exist without AIDS, fear of contamination, bodily fluids”
The quote above is one of many that permeate the everyday dialogue of characters in Miranda July’s debut feature; Me and You and Everyone We Know. The film is a brilliant tapestry of life in the digital age, our abilities and inabilities to effectively communicate and express our emotions. A quest for love, acknowledgment, understanding, and acceptance drives the story which is littered with tender and humorous actions, reactions, and unexpected events.
The well cast characters in the film cover every age range from elementary school boy to senior couple. July’s direction of the actors is superb; every line, nuance, and facial reaction is perfectly timed, seamless, and completely believable. Her ability to elicit great performances from her actors is undoubtedly due to her own experiences as a professional actress. Most profound are the performances from the young child and teen actors, it is most challenging to work with young usually novice actors, yet July manages to obtain some of the most memorable moments in the film from them. July took a great risk in making herself the lead female role of the film, as it can become exceedingly difficult judging and directing your own performance, yet she pulls it off wonderfully.
The screenplay for You and Me and Everyone We Know is layered with profound statements and poignant throwaway lines. The stories of several characters playfully interact with one another, providing a richer overall thematic meaning and establishing a connectedness between varying age groups, professions, and lifestyles. Ultimately, the idea of humanity as one large community that we participate in, and are responsible for, is subtly expressed. July’s writing style is reminiscent of Hal Hartley, and Whit Stillman, creating offbeat characters, unexpected moments, and generating humor at the most dramatic of situations. One could easily consider her their female counterpart.
The DVD extras are sparse, only offering several deleted scenes, all which were understandably deleted. Two of the deleted scenes are interesting in that they discuss young child modeling, something that would have been interesting to incorporate into the film, and yet would have added additional characters and broken up the film’s flow. It is perhaps a topic July can explore in her next film.
You and Me and Everyone We Know, is by far one of the best films to have been released over the summer, it is a superb debut for actress/writer/director Miranda July, who will hopefully continue her filmmaking activities. This is a film that will certainly be viewed more than once, and deserves to be.