Me and You and Everyone We Know
Me and You and Everyone We Know was written and directed by Miranda July. July is a performance artist, and I feel that as such, she has the tendency to me more in touch and observant with the quirks or oddities of how human beings express themselves, how we interact with others, and how simply odd, yet magical these two can be when these forces combine. I feel that this film is so successful at expressing and embracing the odd quirks of humans and their equally odd interactions with others.
In this offbeat comedy drama, Miranda July is like the cool sister I never had. Making performance art alone in her room by having a conversation between a man and woman, in which both voices are narrated by herself, she ends up kissing her own hand for the simple sound of recording a human connection. And as super weird and funny as this may seem, the words she is recording are words of her longing for companionship and true love. I think that this first scene sets the tone for not only Christine (July) being the cool odd ball friend someone we all wish we could hang out with, but that because of this, she is like us in the way that July and the other characters in the movie are desperate to find a connection. Connections that are physical, emotional, and intellectual; are all demonstrated in this film. The thing that makes this movie so impressive to me is the way that July portrays just how far people are willing to go to find that kind of connection.
Richard, played by John Hawkes, is the main character in the middle of a divorce, an absent father, and is looking for some way to connect to his children. He decides that lighting his hand on fire in the front yard while the kids are watching would be the best way to win their affection. Christine (Miranda July), works as an assistant to the elderly. She meets Rchard (Hawkes), at a shoe store where the elderly man she is assisting is buys shoes. Because of July’s quirky and inquisitive nature, she must ask about his hand. From there on, an uncanny friendship begins to form. There is a beautiful scene where Christine (July) and Richard (John Hawkes) are walking down the street and Christine (July) suggests that the block they are walking down is their entire lives. And so halfway down the street is halfway through their lives, and before long they will be at the end of the street and will have end.
It’s a comedy about falling in love when, for you, that means that your lover needs someone who also speaks your unique, or rare emotional language. Yours is a language that might not seem socially acceptable, like the not so ‘pervy’ pervert, or the woman who goes online looking for a sex partner or a little kind on an online chat room. Or your language may be just a simple touch or kind action. That is what this movie addresses, finding your equally odd counterpart in another.
An example of this is Richard’s (Hawkes) 7-year-old son Robby, played by Brandon Ratcliff. This scene is probably one of the most viewed YouTube videos when Googling Me and You and Everyone We Know. This little boy roams the Internet, specifically sex chat rooms. Robby (Ratcliff) continues to have multiple conversations with his Internet friend, even though the kind of communication he is looking for is less sexually charged than the person on the other end of the computer.
There is also an art curator (Tracy Wright) who is obviously lonely and has fears of human connections. This is shown in the way she evaluates art. She is, however, able to fulfill her longings and overcome her fear of connections. And the way this scene is played out and the storyline cross; well, the result is nothing short of perfection. I wanted to laugh and cry and hug the random person sitting next to me in the theater all at once. Partly because of the beauty of the scene and partly because of the intense emotional interaction between the two.