The closing night film at the Atlanta Film Festival was Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know. Like the cinetrix, I was quite impressed by this film and its ability to capture the loneliness and isolation of its central characters. The film is set primarily in rundown neighborhoods in Los Angeles and features a shoe salesman father with two kids going through a divorce, a performance artist who runs a taxi service for senior citizens (played by July who has a blog!), and a contemporary art museum director, among several characters, but what I found so rewarding about the film was its treatment of inter-generational relationships and the isolation and confusion that many children and teenagers feel.
The meticulous narrative, which carefully weaves together several distinct plotlines and characters, emphasizes a notion of community that I found wonderful, a welcome contrast to Crash’s portrayal of a Los Angeles characterized only misunderstanding and (often unconscious) racism. In Me and You, characters proceed cautiously, reaching out carefully to others in an attempt to make a connection with someone. July’s Christine, hoping to connect with the shoe salesman, Richard, keeps finding excuses to show up at the shoestore. Richard’s youngest son finds himself in an Internet romance chat, where his naive comments come across as playfulness. When Richard can’t reach his sons at home (they’re on the Internet), he panics, reasoning that neighbors should be more prepared to watch after each other, echoing the sentiment that it takes a neighborhood to raise a child. As A.O. Scott notes, “True to her movie’s title, Ms. July proposes a delicate, beguiling idea of community and advances it in full awareness of the peculiar obstacles that modern life presents.”
As the Internet romance subplot suggests, many of these tentative gestures take on a sexual edge, and there are moments where you feel that the film could have taken a much different, unnecessarily dark direction, but July avoids the heavy-handedness of most Hollywood films that handle similar topics. I very much enjoyed this film. It introduced me to a world of characters that seemed believable and genuine, beautifully capturing that desire for connection.