Thursday, October 2, 2008
Me and you and everyone we know
A multi-layered, character driven debut movie from an extremely
talented first time director. Focusing on the way we approach, perceive & handle fledgling 1st time relationships, this indie charmer navigates through seemingly familiar territory, but takes a very skewed direction in getting there.
When I first saw this movie at the Auckland film festival in 2005, I knew instantly within 10 minutes that this movie was going to be one of the best things I would watch that year. And that as soon as it was available on Amazon, I was definitely going to be adding to my collection ! Indeed, since then, this film has edged into my top ten of all-time favorites. So let me now share with you why I feel so passionately about this great movie and why its worth 92 minutes of your precious time. After all, life's too short to watch crappy movies !
One of my key requirements for enjoying movies is originality. Obviously as any good film fan would know, there are only so many stories that a filmmaker can tell. Sooner or later, they can all be traced to certain types of themes. But the crucial difference is the way in which directors incorporate these themes into the film they're making. And make no mistake, its a huge challenge in this day & age to come out with something that can truly be labeled as an original. And for writer, director & star Miranda July, she achieved this goal so well, that one of the many well deserved awards it garnered was at Sundance 2005 for 'originality of vision'.
Key to achieving this, was the exceptionally talented and diverse cast for this project. Starting with Ms July herself, although not a typical Hollywood beauty, her looks are totally captivating - but even better than that is her utterly beguiling character Christine Jesperson. Slightly eccentric, kooky and yet very charming, Christine meets shoe salesman Richard Swersey (Actor John Hawkes - "Sol Star" in the 'Shakespeare in the wild west' drama "Deadwood") and immediately the two of them click together. Or maybe not. At the end of their first interaction together, the scene (thankfully) does not end in the usual cliche's. And I'm not going spoil that any further. Thankfully, Director July didn't just make this story about hers & Hawkes' characters. The rest of the cast/characters are more than mere bit parts, each character has well written roles. Indeed, perhaps somehow the real stars of this movie are the kids. From Richards two son's to the teen girls to the young neighbour, all the young actors are more than up to the task in matching the performances of their adult counterparts.
So, like many of my reviews, I don't like saying too much about the story. In my mind, its better to discover it for yourself. If you tell every little detail about a movie, then sometimes it not worth watching because you know exactly what's gonna happen-and when. Isn't it much better to view movies without knowing too much beforehand? Granted, there are occasions when it is beneficial, but the real joy in life is discovering the unknown & the unexpected. At least that's the way I try to approach my movie watching !