If you really love me, then let's make a vow....
Repeat after me: I'm gonna be free.
Wednesday night the cinetrix slipped into New York just long enough to attend the premiere of Miranda July's Me and You and Everyone We Know at the schmancy new IFC Center* [aka the Waverly]. My friend--let's call him Paul--graciously invited me to be his plus-one because he suspected that I might like the movie. He was right.
Wow. What a beautiful film. Shot by Chuy Chavez in a rich palette of the tired pastels, sharp tropical hues, and rough stucco of rundown LA neighborhoods and set to a haunting score by Michael Andrews, this film about lonely people who are hemmed in by ritual and private obsessions even as they try to reach out and connect is anchored by sterling performances. In particular, sweet Brandon Ratcliff, who plays 6-year-old Robby, gives the most natural and unforced performance--in a movie notable for its amazing child actors--since Victoire Thivisol's turn in the title role in Ponette.
In today's Times, AO Scott suggests that Me and You and Everyone We Know might even be classified as a romantic comedy. Well, yes, but its romance is with people and shyness and those strange moments of magic in the everyday, which are all around you if only you're attuned to them.
At the end of Me and You, I felt the way I did after seeing Trust for the first time, or The Dreamlife of Angels: I had been somewhere new and strange and was reluctant to come back to the "real" world; I had fallen in love.
I also can't remember the last time I saw a film so gentle. The narrative ebbs and flows, exerting a tidal pull on the characters, exposing their glistening idiosyncrasies to our gaze for a moment before sweeping them away. I can't wait to see it again.
The cocktail reception afterward was a scene. There were fancy folks in attendence; hipsters snacked on passed canapes and grabbed for promotional tee-shirts. Katie Trainor, the new manager of the IFC Center, dashed about, running on pure adrenaline. John Vanco cornered Matt Ross with his feedback on the Voice article about the new theater. I spotted Michael Almereyda's curls through the crowd and Nick Denton's massive, Schulzian head. David Byrne drifted by, a white-haired ghost with dark eyes.
In the center of it all, Miranda July stood, unflaggingly gracious as friends and strangers approached her, taking it all in. I can't wait to see what she does next.
*NB: New Yorkers should definitely check out the film and the theater this weekend. Ms. July will be appearing four times daily during Me and You's run, and hard work like that should be rewarded.