Me And You And Everyone We Know review

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Why should you bother with yet another ensemble drama about people trying to connect, their lonesome lives full of loss and longing? Why give time to another US indie that tries just that bit too hard to be quirky and adorable, its gallery of goofballs ricocheting from one whimsical set-up to the next? And why trust in a movie that ultimately wraps the world in Band-Aids and cotton wool, the characters' wounds allowed to throb dully, comfortably, but never to gush in raw, unstaunched agony? Because Miranda July's feature debut throws up fresh takes, arresting angles and unexpected wrinkles, that's why.

It's also straight from the heart, her refreshingly simple movie feeling authentic instead of forced, personal instead of phoney - afilm assorted not from other films but from real life. Hawkes' sad, rumpled face is certainly the real deal, his eyes darting nervously as love and hope battle pain and doubt. He wants to be a good father but doesn't quite know how. He also wants to embrace the dream - meet someone, grow old together - - despite smarting from his wife's departure. Now if only he could close his eyes and trust that Christine (July, endearing and wide-eyed) will still be there when the morning comes...

If that all sounds depressing, it's not. Me And You And Everyone We Know (`everyone' being various friends and work colleagues) is more Garden State than Your Friends&Neighbors, more Before Sunset than Closer. A humanist at heart, July finds laughs and hope - always hope - amid blanket alienation, her movie seeking tears of joy, not sorrow. It also boasts one of the funniest scenes of the year, with seven-year-old Robby (Ratcliff) getting an e-chat buddy ""hot"" with his innocent fantasies: ""You poop into my butt-hole and I poop into your butt-hole... back and forth, forever.""

A little too eager to please and a couple of characters are left to scuff their heels, but lovely all the same: sweet, gentle, affecting.

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