, 91 min, 2005
Director: Miranda July
Writer: Miranda July
Stars: John Hawkes, Miranda July, Miles Thompson
Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know is a whimsical, warm, odd but universally relatable ensemble romantic comedy – another in the growing sub-genre of what Alissa Quart in Film Comment called “hyperlink films.” These are essentially the kinds of movies where fates are interlocked and characters who seemingly have a tenuous relation at best are shown to in fact be utterly inseparable – if only cosmically (think of the work of Robert Altman, Paul Thomas Anderson, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, but on a smaller scale).
July stars as Christine Jesperson, an L.A. performance artist who is actively seeking a showcase for her mixed-media projects, which vibrate with loneliness, warm humor and, yes, whimsy. She drives an ElderCab and is taking a client shoe-shopping when she meets Richard (John Hawkes of TV’s Deadwood), a father now separated from his wife. His two young sons venture into the world of Internet chat rooms and vaguely sexual advances, leading to the youngest finding someone who is oddly intrigued by his rather lude and perverse (if innocent) suggestion involving a normally non-sexual bodily function (taken in the context of a little boy who knows truly nothing of sex, this might seem like a plausible alternative for him).
Meanwhile, two neighborhood high school girls (the quirky but attractive Najarra Townsend and Natasha Slayton) attract some innocent if disgusting suggestions from Richard’s co-worker (Brad William Henke). When they get one suggestion which leads to a debate about who would be better at such an endeavor, they go to Richard’s older son to put their “abilities” to the test.
And there’s Sylvie (Carlie Westerman), the odd little girl who is preparing an alarmingly full “dowry” for herself when she gets married (she’s got to be about 8 to 10 years old!). Then there’s the lonely woman (Tracy Wright) who must decide whether to give July her art showcase and who has more to do with the plot than anyone might’ve thought. Not that this film has a “plot” per say; it’s about me and you and everyone we know, you understand.
This film, written and directed b July, has a fragile magic, a sense of wonder at the possibilities that come with any day in the modern world. The MPAA’s assertion that the sexual content involving children is “disturbing” I think misses the point, as well as the reality of our times. It’s not all that disturbing, but sort of whimsical and innocent in its way. Likewise, July’s film is romantic, odd and sometimes funny, and it may make you feel more connected to the world around you than you thought possible. If you see yourself in these characters, that’s a gift, and should be treasured.