Me Without You
Michelle Williams, Anna Friel, Kyle MacLachlan
Director: Sandra Goldbacher
Release Date: 6.17.03
One long, hot
summer in seventies
Holly (Michelle Williams) and Marina (Anna Friel) make a
childhood pact to be friends forever. For the troubled,
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 go by, they experience
everything life has to offer, sex, love, loss and rock 'n roll.
is a heartfelt character study of two life-long friends,
portrayed very nicely by Michelle Williams and Anna Friel.
Friendship is the most important thing in the lives of kids as
they grow up. Iím not drawing this conclusion from this film,
but from my own experience. Incidentally, this film chronicles
the evolution of a long-time friendship, but the emotional
effect somewhat breaks off in its crass dramatization of it. By
crass I mean the situations and events surrounding the friendship.
Taking place in Britain during the turbulent 1980s might prove
to be a hard time in keeping up with your best friend. Things
change and people change. So goes the story of Holly and Marina
as they face and have to set aside their differences, emotions
and love interests (Kyle MacLachlan plays a professor who is
sexually involved with both of them).
and Friel inhabit these two girls quite commandingly. Williams
is most enthusiastic, however, as she is more conservative and
true to herself than Anna Frielís Marina, not to mention
Williams is better looking but thatís really beside the point.
The fact remains is that, I believe, the film is a bit of a
stretch. The story spans well over thirty years and for a frail
friendship such as theirs to survive all that time must be the
work of a wee miracle. For dramatic purposes, director Sandra
Goldbacher, who also co-wrote the script, chooses to make their
friendship sustain the length of time, but in retrospect
challenges the viewerís attitude towards the two girls. Me
Without You almost feels like a personal account, but then
again it does not. The film is mostly genuine, despite some of
also does have its rewarding parts. Its humor is likeable. Its
drama is more than passable. Its sex scenes are, well, on the
same page. But probably the biggest positive of the film is its
assortment of recognizable, selected songs from the early 70s to
the late 90s. Me Without You is a nice little character
study, however, itís not without its share of pretentious drama.
The film is not for everyone, because at some point you will ask
yourself, "how long is this going to continue," yet couples
looking for a good time on a Friday night might want to stay up
a little late and rent a copy of this film from the video store.
Tristar presents Me Without You in 1.85:1 anamorphic
widescreen. This transfer shows some problems. Some scenes show
a lot of grain and dirt, especially the ones at night. Is this a
problem with the transfer or the print quality? Iím not sure,
but it might be the lighting or what kind of camera was used.
The filmís color palette is generally fine, but all together a
little on the soft side. Color detail is inconsistent. Dark
tones and black level suffer greatly in a few spots. Overall,
Me Without You looks decent, but the occasional grainy image
is a bit distracting.
Tristar presents Me Without You in English Dolby Digital
5.1 Surround Sound. The assortment of time-referencing music in
the film is quite nice and impacts the sound system in a decent
way. Dialog is clear and easy to understand. In the overall
sense, however, this film is not really designed or equipped to
correctly handle surround sound. Therefore, Me Without You
sounds decent and a little loud when the music starts playing.
feature is the filmís Theatrical Trailer, plus bonus trailers
for Dick and the Audrey Tautou film He Loves Me, He
Loves Me Not. You can select to view the film with optional
English subtitles. The DVDís menus are interactive, but not
animated. The 101-minute feature is organized into twenty-eight
Williams really shines in Me Without You and Anna Friel
is also pretty good. The film stretches a bit too far in time,
but the basic drama of this character study is likeable and
sweet. The video transfer is somewhat bad, though the audio
presentation holds a very slight advantage over the video. The
abundance of special features makes this disc look too empty.
Therefore, Iíll recommend this film only as a possible rental on
a late Friday night.
(not an average)