Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Me, You and Everyone You Know (July, 2005)

There’s something intimately special about this little gem which until quite recently flew completely under my radar. Miranda July’s debut Me, You and Everyone You Know is to me, what cinema is all about: A unique storytelling voice, complex/engaging characters and just bursting with creativity. She’s a modest filmmaker with a free spirit who conveys a deep sense of compassion for her characters despite their flaws. There isn’t so much a plot as there are vignettes of each of the characters lives interwoven together within a thematic framework. Rarely do you encounter characters with such veracity where it feels like you could just step outside your door and bump right into them.

Odd as much as it is utterly compelling, July’s film feels almost on the breaking point of being too slight at times. Miraculously, she avoids this pratfall by finding the perfect balance between melancholy and humor to great effect. It allows the free flowing narrative to take on a tangible poignancy. Instead of focusing on big revelatory plot devices, she decides to keep her story relatively simple. It would be an understatement to label this film as an exercise in quirkiness (not too found of this word) because even though the characters are idiosyncratic, they remain genuinely human. July masterfully observes candid moments that seem almost irrelevant and makes them special.

To make a comparison, I’d classify it as Magnolia’s (P.T. Anderson, 1999) little sister sprinkled with a little Todd Solondz for good measure. The key difference here is July’s sense of palatable optimism. That isn’t to say that Anderson and Solondz offer more bleak representations of human experiences because contentment can be found in their work as well but Miranda July comes across as being someone who understands the importance of human compassion on a level that so refreshingly devoid of any cynicism. The result is a rare experience that is profoundly moving and a film you just want to watch again as a means of inspiration. Easily the best film of 2005 for me.


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