Falling in love with a movie is an interesting process. Sometimes it's love at first sight. Sometimes you have to see a film several times before it strikes that long-term bond. Sometimes it just sneaks up on you and hits you in a way so unexpected that you're just literally blown away. This is how I felt when I first saw Me You and Everyone We Know at Sundance 2005. As the film unspooled I felt myself falling for its quirky sensibilities, getting sucked in to the emotional relationships, and ultimately falling head over heals for this wonderfully complex and stunning film.
What makes the affair with Me and You and Everyone We Know even more profound is that the film is the debut from Miranda July, who wrote, starred and directed in the film. Miranda has her roots in performance art and experimental film but this is her first feature. I can't remember a bolder and more emotionally complex debut. Miranda infuses the film with so many things, draws from so many sources, and creates a world so unique and richly textured, it's like nothing you've seen before.
The core story of Me and You and Everyone We Know is the tale of two people who live in coincidentally parallel and somewhat unhappy lives. Richard Swersey, played exceptionally by John Hawkes (of Deadwood fame), insecure about his life, self, abilities to parent and place in the world tries a parlor trick he learned as a kid - lighting his hand on fire. The trick goes horribly wrong and he chars his hand. This seemingly small event takes on larger proportions as it parallels the charring of his relationship with his wife and the destruction of his family life. Moving into a small apartment with his two kids, Richard is thrust into a world where he must connect and interact with others, a journey paralleled by his two kids who begin the adolescent journey of discovery into the world of relationships and sexuality.
Christine Jesperson (played by Miranda July herself) locks herself in her room to create art about people and relationships but without involving any real people or relationships. She has hopes, dreams and aspirations and desperately wants to find someone to be with. Her pained desperation and need for connecting is contrasted with her complete inability to make those real connections. Her world is changed by her 'day job', shuttling around old people on their errands, which ultimately thrusts her into a world where she must connect and interact with others.
All this comes to a crossroads when Christine and Richard meet and connect. The apex of this is a scene which has them playing out their relationship while walking to their cars. This is one of the best-written scenes I've seen on screen in a very long time; it's jaw-droppingly good.
Although the core of the film is the relationship between Christine and Richard, it's only really part of a much larger whole, as an ensemble cast fill out a multitude of subplots and interwoven stories which play and build on the themes of connections and relationships.
I could write a very long list of all the moments and the scenes in this film that I simply adore. There's so much going on in this film - it's just immense. This is one of those films that you absolutely need to see more than once to get all that it has to offer.
I see an enormous number of films every year, many I enjoy, some I really like, few I fall in love with. I fell hard for Me and You and Everyone We Know. It's one of those rare films I can honestly add to my short list of "Favorite Films of All Time". It's just that good.
Me and You and Everyone We Know is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, English only. There are no other audio options. The audio sounds clear and crisp and the audio is well balanced between the dialogue and the music. One of the great aspects of Me and You and Everyone You Know is the soundtrack, it really helps set the tone and the mood of the film.
Me and You and Everyone We Know is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is solid, skin tones look very true. There is a slight amount of edge enhancement apparent on some of the scenes showing instant messaging on a computer, but it's extremely slight.
It's a real shame that there aren't more supporting features on this DVD. After interviewing Miranda July and hearing her thoughts about the film I think it's a huge missed opportunity to not have her do an audio commentary. Also the film has an interesting history, having made its way through both the Sundance Filmmakers Lab and The Sundance Film Festival. At a minimum, it would have been nice to have the Q&A from the Sundance screenings on the DVD.
What we do get on the DVD are 6 Deleted scenes from the film. Most of them revolve around the kids in the film (Peter, Robby and Sylvie). The scenes obviously were cut from the film to keep the pace and tone right and while they're interesting it's easy to see why they're deleted.
As a film critic one of the most satisfying aspects of the job is getting to discover and see truly great films. Me and You and Everyone We Know is a truly great film, and the only thing more gratifying than discovering it is letting people know about this fantastic film. While the special features on the DVD leave something to be desired, the film is so good I'm going to give it our highest rating: DVD Talk Collector's Series.