“Me and You and Everyone We Know” tells the story of Richard Swersey (John Hawkes) and Christine Jesperson (Miranda July) and how they get along in their daily lives.
Richard just separated from his wife and is taking care of his two sons when not working as a shoe salesman and Christine is struggling to become an artist and driving a cab for elderly people to make a living.
They fall in love with each other, a love at first sight sort of thing and a complicated one. The one just divorced and afraid to lose his children. The other yearning for the perfect man, expressing herself in ways no one else cares or is able to understand. They both find themselves at the crossroads of their lives. Which way will they turn?
Performance artist Miranda July certainly is talented and doing everything herself, the writing, directing and acting is a daunting task and one cannot help but wonder if it would not have been better had she concentrated more on one of these tasks instead.
The movie does feel constructed at times and I do not agree with some of the critics’ statement of “natural flow”. The connecting of all the characters fates, esp. the lonely art curator (Tracy Wright), does not happen naturally and only adds to the notion that this is done for the sake of a story. It is the character development and dialogue what drives the story forward and invokes a sense of curiosity within the viewer, who more than once will find it difficult to connect to the characters and situations presented.
Richard and Christine are the two main characters who seem to be destined for each other. Richard’s sons, 8-year-old Robby and 14-year-old Peter, are into cyber-sex for fun and through them we meet other characters such as Heather and Rebecca, two young girls who want to find out who is better at oral sex. These two not only practice on Peter in order to find out, they also entice a middle-aged man to write naughty signs, which he puts up on his window for them to read. We also meet Sylvie, the 10-year-old neighbor who reveals her “hope chest” to Peter and who dreams of the perfect marriage. Then there’s the lonely art curator, who hangs out in cyber-sex chat rooms, is turned on by “poop” and is on the lookout for something new for her exhibition. Lucky for her she finds the “endless poop” and coincidentally the “bench” scene is also the single most intimate and emotional moment throughout the whole movie.
I cannot shake the feeling that this could have been an even better movie if July had given the part of Christine to someone else or maybe that is just because for the most part I could not see any real emotion coming from her, esp. in the scene where she writes “FUCK” on her windscreen and shouts it repeatedly. Maybe the “performance artist” in her gets in the way there. This film could have been more.