10 September 2012, terribly early in the morning
The The We and the I marks my return to TIFF. I grabbed a ticket from Limin, my only friend who apparently bothered getting a 10-pack this year. She had two extra tickets, so I used one to go see a film with her. This film was her pick. The We and the I is directed by Michael Gondry, and follows a group of teenagers as they ride the bus home from their last day of school. All the action takes place on the bus; Michael Gondry styled flash backs and dream sequences are used to good effect to provide context and backstory on occasion. At its core it’s a film about high school. There are bullies and the brash, and then there is everyone else. There is melodrama, lust, conformity, and all the things central to high school existence. The two lead figures in the film are Michael, one of the bullies, and Vanessa, his friend not-quite girlfriend who has returned to school after a 3-month absence. There story plays out in full, while we get snippets from the lives of everyone else on the bus. There are plenty of people on the bus. Lots of stories begin, but most rarely come to a satisfying conclusion. People hop off the bus before we learn more about them. There is a point being made with that choice, no doubt. The acting is a bit hit-or-miss, but on the whole I’d say good. The film feels very authentic, I suspect because the characters are all probably playing variations of themselves—Gondry recruited kids from an after-school out-reach program to star in the movie. At times the movie is quite funny; at times it’s quite poignant. The We and the I manages to capture the confusion of adolesence well. You should watch it.