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The story is about these two young women, who have been "friends" all of their lives. There were boys, jealousy, love and hate...and still it's all about these two girls - Holly and Marina. Just the truth without any hyperbolas and unnecessary sweetness. This movie was so close to me that all of the time I watched it I had goose bumps. The central idea of this movie has been following me since I was 12...It's unbelievable how precisely director has described my (as well as any other human being's) thoughts, emotions...There are these people in our lives that just won't ever go. It's not love and it's not friendship either and it's not that we really want them to leave (?)...it is some kind of bond between people...as the Marina says "There's no me without you". Watching this movie I realized how weird is this fact - you can hate, despise one people so much....and still there is something that holds you together...and I guess there is no point to resist, otherwise there will be no you :) - and that's frightful isn't it?
This was a good movie that was well acted by both leads. You want to despise Friel's character but know the character is a product of her environment. You root for Williams' character even if you can't figure out why she puts up with so much. I liked the love story between Williams and Milburn's character. I see shades of Rene Zellweger in Michelle Williams.
This is a film that I went to see for two reasons: the depiction of
nostalgia and the state of British cinema- I thought it depicted the
brilliantly but confirmed the problem with British films that afflict our
times. 'Me Without You- like most British films ('A Room for Romeo Brass',
'Bend it Like Beckham') would be more suited to TV- a BBC or Channel 4
in the mode of 'Play for Today'- one-offs that aren't soap operas. Though
do admire the scope this film aims for- which should have been on a scale
TV-show 'Our Friends in the North'- i.e. hours of TV.
The film has a pretty great soundtrack- Cabaret Voltaire, The Normal, Only Ones, Scritti Politti and good performances from Anna Friel and Kyle Maclachlan. The best thing here is the acting of Michelle Williams- as with Katie Holmes she doesn't seem to be bothered by on-screen nudity. This is a European approach typified by actresses like Monica Belluci, Emanuelle Beart and Romane Bohringer- it's the character who is naked. And, let's face it- when you're in bed with someone you usually are naked! The punk bit was OK- not far from the book 'The Rachel Papers'- the other side of life from suburbia; the Brighton Uni bit was even better (though I felt the unrequited/requited love throughout was a bit hokey!). There is a terrible postmodern line spoken by Williams character to Maclachlan's on Tarkovsky- in 1982 sher states "My favourite is 'Nostalgia' "- released in 1983: the postmodern loop of nostalgia...I do think this film says a lot about friendship and the passage of time- for that reason alone it will find a receptive audience in the future (I had some 'Speak,Memory' moments...)The end of the film is quite unsatisfactory- Friel's character being quite irritating and the will they/won't they? question answered in a rather boring manner. The final scene is rubbish- daughters who we have never seen before are meant to reference the circular nature of 'growing up' as typified by the opening scenes of Friel/Williams as young girls playing in the garden?
I think this film captures that English suburban thing well- more 'Lawn Dogs' or 'Secrets & Lies' than 'American Beauty'- and I don't think it is close to 'Mina Tannenbaum'. It's much better than the recent Elton John produced film with Helena Bonham Carter and Mel Smiths excerable offerring with Minnie Driver. This film will work on video much better- as it's closer to TV than the language of cinema. Still it is very touching, does offer allusions to Derrida,Dostoyevsky & 'The Sweetest Girl' and it does linger in the memory long after seeing it. Despite its flaws, it's much closer to where British film should be than dross like 'Snatch' and a nice feminine companion to '24 Hour Party People'. At the end of the day though, this theme has been done much better in films like 'Beautiful Girls',I Vitteloni', 'Jules et Jim'& 'Summer with Monika'- which if you like this, I urge you to see.
In 1973, Holly and Marina are best friend neighbors. Holly is from a
stable Jewish family while Marina's pilot father is rarely around. In
1978, Holly (Michelle Williams) and Marina (Anna Friel) are desperate
to grow up. Holly is infatuated with Marina's brother Nat while
Marina's parents are getting divorced. Marina is angry that Holly slept
with Nat and tears up his letter to Holly. In 1982, the girls are
together in university and Nat comes to visit. Holly is sleeping with
her professor (Kyle MacLachlan) but she and Nat spends the night
together. Marina continues to sabotage Holly with Nat and sleeps with
the professor herself. Eventually Nat announces that he's marrying
Isabel breaking Holly's heart. In 1989, Holly is a struggling writer
living at home and dating Carl who is a close friend of Marina. Marina
seems successful and marrying and converting to Judism. Nat is back
with Isabel but their marriage is in trouble.
This is a girls' best friends forever relationship filled with jealousy, possession and complications. This is the ugly side of female relationship but it takes a long time to boil over. While I like the dark subject matter, I wish it's handled with a darker style and a darker touch. Although both actresses does an excellent job. Holly's submissiveness really gets on my nerves and Marina needs to be crazier earlier. It hints at Marina's dark home life but it would be helpful to show more of the darkness. The whole tone has too much airy lightness.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The subject of this film isn't new at all. Nor is it original: the
coming of age of two girlfriends. We follow them from their childhood
in 1973 up to the first years of the 21st century.
First, 'Me without you' offers a nice going back to those years for everyone around at the time. Getting nostalgic without overdoing it. After having gotten yourself in the right mood, it's only a small step to recall memories about your own first love-experiences from those years. This film's soapy & easy-going style invites you to them.
This presentation is well supported by a tasty picturing. Without being great or expensive, it delivers just a right amount of intimacy to let the plot work.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Me Without You is a charming movie with considerable depth. It explores
the pathology of long-term friendships, when people grow apart, and one
of the friends is forced to become the giver, peacemaker, bearer of
burdens caused by conflict and divergent ideals.
Friel and Williams are compelling as two friends who, even as children, had little in common. As they become adults their differences turn into jealously, suspicion, and inevitable confrontation. Their lives completely entwined by the time they realize that their differences are often unbearable irritants, the two eventually reach a kind of strained truce.
The story is a distinctly female one; men are far less likely to have such long-term or intimate friendships, and not at all likely to remain friends with someone after betrayals and unrestrained confrontation. However, this should not stop men from viewing the film. It is full of insight about women, relationships, and family dynamics. And if none of that interests you, it offers some great depictions of the 1970's and 80's (the club scenes and wardrobe from the university years, are nice contrasts to American depictions of the New Wave era).
The performances of Williams and Friel were engaging enough to overcome
even the most worn-out plot; i.e., friends growing up and experiencing
change without excepting the others changing. Not to take away from
some unusually gritty realism and a smart script and score. All the
several supporting players are given just enough background and lines
when it'd been easy to drop a few such people to superficial status.
Still, MW/oY cannot avoid the need to employ the implausibility of friends staying so attached and frequent and annual meetings of all involved. Such can be overlooked because Holly and Mariana are so intriguing.
Guys, this may qualify as a chick flick. But if a guy must suffer through just one chick flick, I recommend this one.
When you live in a suburb of London, in the mid 1970s, your best friend
is whomever lives nearby. Such is the case of Holly (Michelle
Williams), a bookish and sweetly obedient girl and Marina (Anna Friel),
a wild child of an equally wild mom (Trudie Styler), who helps mold and
shape the thinking of her more reserved neighbor. Add in Holly's crush
on Marina's brother (Oliver Millburn), toss in some drugs, cigarettes,
and a college professor (Kyle MacLachlan) when they go off to
University and you have a brilliant character study, set against the
New Wave 80s, and into the 90s.
Holly must deal with control issues from all around her: first her stodgy parents, then dodgy Marina, who has her own agenda, even as she is trying to sabotage Holly's.
It's a taut, real story, with authentic performances straight through. The questions it raises about what friends do for and to each other are explored, and the dynamic of who "runs" a relationship is a key element to the tale, just as much as the fantastic soundtrack of 1980s Punk and Brit Rock music.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This 2001 film from British director Sandra Goldbacher is a
coming-of-age story about intense female teenage bonds and what happens
to them on the road to adulthood. Marina (a splendid Anna Friel) and
Holly (Michelle Williams) are in young years already fervently loyal
best friends who live next door to each other. Perhaps as a reaction to
this over-intensity and partly due to different parental backgrounds,
their personalities develop into near opposites: Marina is a
self-consciously wild party-girl and eclectic dresser who dabbles with
heroin and casual sex, whilst Holly is a Sylvia Plath reading
intellectual, a steadier, introverted being who feels mousy and unsexy
(her domineering mother is shown telling her "There are pretty people,
and there are clever people," as if the two were mutually exclusive).
Marina deliberately tries to sabotage the burgeoning love between her
brother Nat (Oliver Milburn) and Holly, tearing up a letter intended
for her, and manipulatively telling him of Holly's affair with Daniel,
their American lit-crit professor. Predictably jealous of Holly finding
favour with Daniel (Kyle MacLachlan) both of whom are Jewish and
intellectual Marina seduces him and tries to impress him by
name-dropping Ingmar Bergman. Needless to say, the friendship between
the two young women quickly becomes toxic and neurotic as Marina
behaves increasingly possessive and histrionic, interpreting Holly's
growing automony as a rejection of the friendship itself.
It is a fascinating topic and one to which many women can relate. However, there are a few facets that forestall 'Me Without You' from being a great film. The director drew inspiration from an osmotically close bond she experienced as a young teenager which petered out, but was not reflected upon by the two in adulthood (at least not together). In the film, you feel that the difficulties are dramatically presented, but without them being questioned or actively dealt with by the protagonists. Holly fails to confront Marina with the truth of her behaviour, tacitly tolerating her unspoken dominance in the friendship. For her part, Marina also seems to be unable to mature beyond competitivism and rivalry with Holly. This prevents growth and development in character, in the light of which the ending seems unsatisfactorily positive. The viewer is left wondering when Holly will give her quiet suffering a voice and set Marina clear limits in their contact. Also, the script (written by Goldbacher and Laurence Coriat) occasionally lets the film down. The expression "it's so street!", for example, is used so often it grates; the funky jargon of the period could have been used much more liberally and subtly and to better effect. The soundtrack also comes across as a little 'stuck on' and predictable: a Joy Division poster hangs on the wall, records of The Clash, Adam Ant and Depeche Mode spin on the turntables and an attempted suicide (by Marina's mother, deftly performed by Trudie Styler) is accompanied by the music of Nick Drake, himself a famous suicide.
It's nevertheless worth watching, especially for those who feel nostalgic for 1970s and 1980s fashion and music and for those who have experienced a close, deep friendship drifting into a stifling and over-dependent osmosis.
Also recommended: My Summer of Love, The Page Turner, Look at Me (2005), Gespenster (a German film)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was really hoping to like this after reading the blurb on the back
then checking out some of the IMDb reviews but I was very disappointed.
The film is a bit of a confused mess, is badly acted, badly written and very clunky. It lacks any sophistication or subtlety and we are just subjected to scene after annoying scene of the two 'friends' constantly bickering and falling out. I was hoping for a fun British indie but got a depressing, miserable hack of a film.
The main plot it just the two girls doing not much at all other than getting on each other's nerves. The sub plots are weak and annoying and usually involve secondary characters coming and going randomly and causing a bit of uninteresting melodrama.
The film does not know what it wants to be or what it wants to say or what it's really about and this lack of direction and confusion comes out in every aspect of the production, making it a difficult, dull and annoying watch. Shame.
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