Film Review: ‘The We and the I’

Jonathan Ortiz, Teresa Rivera, Raymond Delgado and Michael Brodie star in "The We and the I" Credit: Paladin
Jonathan Ortiz, Teresa Rivera, Raymond Delgado and Michael Brodie star in “The We and the I”
Credit: Paladin

‘The We and the I’
Director: Michel Gondry
Stars: Michael Brody, Teresa Lynn
Rating: NR
3 (out of 5) Globes

Ang Lee just won a Directing Oscar for shooting most of a film in and around a small boat. Michel Gondry (“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) goes one step further: a few moments on the street and a handful of Gondry-esque fantasies aside, his latest, the collaborative “The We and the I,” never leaves the inside of a city bus taking high schoolers from one side of the Bronx to the other. In real life, this ride takes considerably less time than the length of an average movie, even in rush hour, but the film, like most Gondrys, exists in an absurdist, heightened version of reality, albeit one with its second foot firmly in reality.

Gondry created the film over four years with high schoolers enrolled in an afterschool arts program. They play “themselves,” which is to say heightened versions of their slightly younger selves (some were already in college by the time Gondry scored the funds and such to shoot). Set after the last day of school, “The We and the I” piles them on an MTA bus, which they immediately make their temporary home. A series of plotless hang-out sessions ensue, the camera jumping between teens of varying backgrounds and social hierarchies, and sometimes into flashbacks that resemble the director’s storied, playful music videos.

It’s one strain of energy fused with another. The kids are rambunctious, even blue, while, Gondry — nearly 50 but eternally kid-like, who once made a documentary self-portrait entitled “I’ve Been Twelve Forever” — brings his own, splicing in Young MC and his usual makeshift contraptions with today’s youth and cell phone apps. This is the Frenchman’s fourth NYC and vicinity movie — including “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party” and the Passaiac-set “Be Kind Rewind” — and he has a way of bottling up the city’s polyglot energy with an ever-curious set of eyes.

As with all of Gondry’s work, there’s a melancholy buried in the whimsy and anarchism. It’s a touch too pronounced, with the film going from freewheeling, freeform fun, fueled by energy and filmmaking as fast as its chatter, to a sad, sober, talky conclusion. There’s ways to delve into character depth without making ruining the fun, as “The We and the I” very nearly does. Although, like the characters — or more specifically, actors — the film is too lovable to engender anything approaching disappointment.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

PHOTO: Queen Elizabeth pulls off epic photobomb

The selfie / photobomb has gone viral.

Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

Television

Kacy Catanzaro credits mind over body in "American…

Kacy Catanzaro credits her victory to mental focus and upper body strength.

Entertainment

Q&A: The brains behind 'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood'

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. We talked with Christopher Locke of Glu Canada to find out more about developing the game.

Movies

The 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer is…

Watch 'The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' trailer.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…