Talking Pictures

“Hey, you’re Miranda July — the barely-known actress, writer, and director of the movie.”

“Very good, actor John Hawkes. As much as I would like to chat, there’s no time to flatter me. We’re about to have our picture taken. Stand still and look at me as if we’re having that wonderful scene in the movie.”

“Right. Like this?”

“Yes. That’s it. Show your right side profile to the camera. You look handsome that way.”

“Why thank you, Miranda. But your pose looks awkward. Why are you hiding the bag from me?”

“I – uh – it’s nothing. A nervous habit. We’re about to get reviewed.”

The movie is populated by people who are not normal. No, scratch that. It’s peopled by characters you don’t normally see in movies. Consider Christine (Miranda July), the budding artist. She looks at a photograph of two people and imagines a conversation between them. It is art, but it sure looks like a playful mind game for a child. And consider little boy Robby. The kid can barely type and yet, he’s in a chat room where “poop” is not such a bad thing.

These two characters are just a couple of dots in the movie’s canvas. “Me and You and Everyone We Know” looks more like art than a movie, in a conventional sense. But its sublime artistry is not the kind that’s accompanied by violin strings or anything fancy. It’s something you can enjoy without thinking too hard, and yet the images represent something deep and intellectual. For example, there’s a scene where a fish in a bag is forgotten atop the roof of a driving car. There’s much suspense about whether the fish will survive or not. At the same time, Miranda July sneaks in a poetic commentary about death. Most of the time, she doesn’t force the symbolism on us. Her brilliance is displaying images that speak for themselves, that speak their thousand-words worth. However, her strokes for storytelling do not connect as one would hope. Though the stories are intriguing and unique, some drifts in an awkward fashion and end rather vaguely.

“Me and You and Everyone We Know” is unlike any film I’ll probably see this year. Miranda July has imagined a strange and surreal world, yet it’s emotionally familiar and real. It is a memorable and whimsical work of art and cinema.

Grade: A-

CAST
Miranda July, John Hawkes, Brandon Ratcliff
Written and directed by

Miranda July
Rated R for disturbing sexual content involving children, and for languageLINKS
Official Site
IMDB
Rotten Tomatoes
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