The We and the I

Michel Gondry has given us The Green Hornet, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep, Be Kind Rewind, Dave Chappelle’s Block Party and Human Nature. His films, while at times having trouble with their narrative, have always been able to produce a visual flair that rivals that of the old silent Buster Keaton films. Here, however, while offering hints of that visual flair, is a film with almost no narrative and little flair to be had. The We and the I is set on the last day of school and shows us the long bus ride that a group of students takes on their way home from school. We are a fly on the wall in this bus as we see relationships strengthen and disappear over the film’s runtime. The thing about high school, and more importantly about high school students, is that they’re all children. Films such as The Breakfast Club and Election have painted a particular picture of high school by creating relatable characters. They deal with their own problems, which are also very self-centered and childish, in a way that audiences are able to associate with. In The We and the I, the problems of the characters at no point feel truly relatable in the same way as the aforementioned films. They immediately have a negative relation to your memory, almost saying, “How precious,” in the worst way possible.

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It seems likely that Michel Gondry makes 14 movies a year that never see theaters except the one in his home. Short films, animations, stuff he’s shot with the camera he always seems to have on-hand. That would make a hell of a Criterion release. As for movies that we’ll get to see from the visionary director, his talk with the New York Times brought a few more into perspective. For one, The We and the I – his film shot entirely on a school bus – is now most likely going to shoot this summer. For two, he reconfirmed his work on an animated film based off of discussions he’s had with Noam Chomsky about language and philosophy. That, in particular, sounds like it could be incredible (because I am a huge, huge dork). However, the biggest and newest news was that he’d convinced Audrey Tatou to come on board for an as-yet-untitled, French-language flick by making an animation of him asking her. How do you turn a director down when he does something that would normally end up as a Youtube video titled “Cutest Marriage Proposal Ever!!!”? Frankly, any new Gondry work is to be anticipated, but considering the offbeat performances he’s pulled out of his actors (most notably Jim Carrey and Tim Robbins), it’ll be especially exciting to see him work with Tatou.

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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