Almost defying description due to the depth of its originality, Me & You & Everyone We Know (2005) with too literal a discription might end up sounding like a twinky independent artsy-fartsy film of the sort that just doesn't work outside the confines of a film festival. But it's really much, much more than Sundance pablum. It's an honest film, funny & occasionally creepy, but in the main deeply emotional & intelligent.
A plot eventually does become apparent but by & large this is an accumulation of intersecting vignettes. A shoe salesman (John Hawkes as a guy coping badly with his divorce) tries to impress his kids by squirting lighter fluid on his left hand & setting it afire. Christine (wonderfully played by writer-director Miranda July, whose previous work has all been short subjects) drives an elder service cab, is making a no-budget short art film, & gets a crush on the shoe salesman so goes into his store to try on socks as earrings.
The shoe salesman's junior highschool son (Miles Thompson) is seduced by two beautiful young girls (Natasha Slayton & Najarra townsend) who are bonding with each other by having a "who gives the best blowjob" contest. The littler brother learns to log into chat rooms & begins to "talk dirty" about poop to a stranger who doesn't realize she is having a scatological relationship with a six year old (Brandon Ratcliff).
Each of these vignettes is highly poetic visually & for dialog. Characters' lives crisscross each others' paths, relationships become increasingly meaningful, even those which occur in passing. It could have been insipid stuff like a commonplace romantic comedy, but it never is that, because even though the approach to every situation conveys innocence, sweetness, & dreamy hopefulness, it's nevertheless worrisome that a child is secretly logging into an adult chat room, that the emotional safety & possibly the physical safety of everyone child or adult is forever at risk.
So a little girl (Carlie Westerman) has a curious fetish for small kitchen appliances & bathroom assessories for her hope chest, but never smiles & seems strangely secretive. The two girls with the blowjob competition flirt with a potential pervy adult (Brad William Henke) who begins to leave sex-messages for them taped to a window, heightening their curiosity. The six year old agrees to meet his adult chatroom poop-talk friend in the park. The cruelly rebuffed artist Christine borders on becoming the shoe salesman's stalker.
There were moments during the film I was thinking, "I really like this, but it sure is self-consciously arty." But by the time we find out who is the adult in that on-like scatological exchange, I was holding my breath in awe of the terrible weirdly goodhearted beauty & sadness of it all.
It's a film that makes suffering & mudanity & the transience of existence seem all sadly worth it, as humanity strives individually & collectively to transcend a shared frailty & vulnerability.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl