Combustible Celluloid
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With: Miranda July, John Hawkes, Miles Thompson, Brandon Ratcliff, Carlie Westerman, Hector Elias, Brad Henke, Natasha Slayton, Najarra Townsend, Tracy Wright, JoNell Kennedy
Written by: Miranda July
Directed by: Miranda July
MPAA Rating: R for disturbing sexual content involving children, and for language
Running Time: 95
Date: 01/01/2005

Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Force of July

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It probably helps a great deal that the wispy, flower-like Miranda July appears in her own film, as her adorable, blue-eyed presence warms what would have been a cold, quirky, Todd Solondz-like experience. Like a mini-Short Cuts, Me and You and Everyone We Know follows several lost and lonely characters as they cross paths in funny, sad and sometimes disturbing ways. A six year-old boy chats on an internet sex site, a man lights his hand on fire and a woman practically throws herself at him, not comprehending how dangerous or unhinged he may be. Yet none of this sets off any alarm bells, thanks to July's wide-eyed dreaminess and eternal hope.

A former performance artist and video maker, her feature debut plays both with memorable visuals and lovingly written words. From the opening sequence -- in which she records two voices for a potential video art piece -- she raises our hopes and manages to keep them there. July plays Christine, a video artist who falls for Richard (John Hawkes), a newly divorced father of two boys, one a teenager and the other only six. Christine also drives an Elder Cab and becomes involved with some of her aged clients.

Otherwise, we meet a couple of teenage girls experimenting with sex, Richard's African-American wife (who already has a new boyfriend), and a lonely art museum curator. I wouldn't go so far as to call Me and You and Everyone We Know "sweet," but it's definitely funny and appealing in an oddball way. One passage of dialogue, equating the length of a relationship to the length of a sidewalk, is better than any sequence in any recent Hollywood romantic comedy.

Despite the splash it made on the indie circuit and all its adoring fans, the film's big DVD release comes only with some deleted scenes. You'd think July would have come up with some cool performance art commentary track. In 2020, the Criterion Collection released a new Blu-ray edition, still with no commentary track, but with lots of other bonuses.

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