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Growing up in the 1970s on the Isle of Wight, Holly and Marina make a childhood pact to be friends forever. For the troubled, unpredictable Marina, with her seemingly glamorous father and her Valium-addicted mother, Holly stays the only constant in a life of divorcing parents, experimental drugs and fashionable self-destruction. Meanwhile, Holly buries herself in books out of feelings of frustration with her over-protective mother and a nagging insecurity around her beautiful and possessive best friend. She holds just one secret from Marina, her increasing passion for Marina's brother Nat. As the years roll by, the girls experience everything life has to offer, sex, love, loss and rock 'n roll. But eventually for Holly, a friendship which has never been equal gradually begins to feel like a trap. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Friendship is a curious thing, and it's a topic which hasn't been explored too recently at the cinema. Me Without You puts this right, following the relationship between Holly (Williams) and Marina (Friel) from the seventies through the present, watching as them grow up and exploring their feelings towards each other and each other's families.
Imagine a British answer to The Ice Storm or American Beauty, and you're about half-way there, as this contains performances of genuine passion and emotion which leads you to engage on a surprisingly deep level with the characters as it delves beneath the surface of friendship. There is a moment about an hour in with Holly where it was impossible not to feel her character's desperation. While mostly drama, there are many moments of subtle humour which are effective without disturbing the overall flow of the piece.
The direction, especially with some inspired lighting in the last half hour is more than adequate, and the soundtrack perfectly evokes the spirit of the era, as do the costumes which have obviously had great care taken over them.
More importantly, though, this is a film which will really make you think, make you question the nature of friendship and your friends - you'll want to recommend this film to them, but you probably won't for fear of losing them afterwards!
A delight, and not at all what you might expect from a British film starring an ex soap actress. The two leads put in fine performances, and the supporting cast more than pull their weight. It's fair to say that I felt some of the nudity and drug use were slightly gratuitous, but this is a criticism that could also be levelled at American Beauty to a certain extent. This isn't quite a five star film, but it's pretty close.
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