By Casey Campbell
Say you have an idea for a movie. It’s not terribly unique, but to top it off, your characters don’t act the way human beings normally do and the actors aren’t terribly good at delivering lines or conveying emotion. Then you push that idea into a feature length film with the depth of a tide pool, and you get Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know.
I cannot fathom how this film got the accolades it received, namely from Cannes and Sundance. Maybe those festivals appreciate scenes strung together with no through line, or dialogue* that absolutely reeks of pretentiousness. And I hate to use the term pretentious. I truly do. But that’s the only way I can describe this film. You have the main character, Richard, who early in the film douses his hand in kerosene and lights it on fire in front of his young children. Why? Oh, because, as he explains later: “I was trying to save my life and it didn’t work.” Pardon my language, but what the fuck.
July sets her sights on relationships and people, but fails to thoughtfully convey either one of these things interestingly, or even accurately. Before the hand on fire scene, she opens the movie with her character Christine creating a video for an art show (believe it or not, this indie darling features a lead character that’s an artist, something never before seen). The character that Christine tries to submit her art to turns out to be a pedophile. What does that say of art? I’m not sure.
At another junction, pedophile art curator admires an instillation, and comments on how the garbage looks real. Turns out, the garbage is real. The art is garbage, literally. I suppose this is where the film turns meta.
I’ve not even mentioned the subplot with the 14 year old girls who get preyed on by a middle aged man (to no end), or the six year old boy who gets kissed on the lips by the pedophile art curator.
The movie tries far too hard to be quirky and unique, and it’s a severe and obtrusive detriment. Each line of ridiculous dialogue rolled my eyes around my skull, and the characters seemed to know they were in a quaint little indie film. I did not like this movie.
*Other pretentious stuff:
-when buying shoes- “Your whole life could be better, starting right now.”
-“What does this tell us about digital culture?”
-that scene where the kids print a bunch of punctuation marks and then get deep about it
-that scene where children lay on the ground and look up and contemplate death and life despite being 12 and 7