Wednesday, September 26, 2007

#25 Female Peformance: Miranda July

Miranda July
Christine Jesperson
Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)

As this list progresses, Miranda July’s performance in her debut film Me and You and Everyone We Know will seem like an anomaly. That isn’t to say that she doesn’t deserve recognition for her work here, far from it. In retrospect, her position feels justified despite being overshadowed by the female powerhouses preceding her but what makes July so special is the way she brings an inimitable personality to the role. With experience in performance arts, her filmmaking style embraces this unique art-form allowing for immeasurable creativity. The narrative is breezy and unprecedented full of colorful characters that speak, behave and react to various situations in ways that we do not anticipate. To label the film an exercise in quirkiness (a cringe-worthy term) would be to turn a blind-eye to the infusion of charming poeticism and deep-rooted sincerity that permeates every frame. July has crafted what I believe to be one of the best films of the decade; an entertainingly insightful film on 21st century living that also happens to be profoundly moving.

That’s enough gushing about the film for now. Let’s get to brass-tacks and focus on July’s actual performance which is essentially what this thread is all about in the first place. She plays Christine, a coy, beautiful young woman who is a struggling artist who has a part-time job as taxi-cab driver for seniors. The plot focuses on several different characters as well who interweave throughout each other’s lives often in unpredictable ways but ultimately, it is Christine who remains the focal point with whom everyone else is connected. Her eccentricities eventually lead her to Richard, a shoe-store employee whom she quickly develops a strange relationship with. The emotional highs and lows of unrequited love are portrayed by July with such jubilant earnestness and soft heartache. In a film packed with memorable moments, she and Richard share a tentative stroll down a street that is so inventive and charming that it words cannot do it justice. Pay attention to July’s expression as she awkwardly confesses her true feelings towards him as they make their way to the end of the street. It confirms an actress with the ability to naturally convey true sensationalism without coming off as phony.

July also has knack for comedy although not in the traditional sense. Christine is a peculiar character who seems to be in her own little world and it is through her strange antics that July’s sense of humor shines. It’s not so much a physical type of comedy as it is observational humor. There’s this naivety and childlike playfulness to July that she utilizes to her benefit and this makes her genuinely funny. She brings a fresh sense of absurdity and seriousness to her role in one of the most stunning debuts in recent years.


Ramses said...

I've been keeping track of this on RT.

I couldn't agree with you more on July. On top of a great performance, I also think she gave an incredible debut feature as a director. Shes one of my favorites in the whole "new directors" wave and I hope she gets behind the camera sometime soon.

Jason said...

Apparently she is making another film at the moment. I couldn't agree more about July as a director. She is someone with a bright-career ahead of her.