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Me Without You

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Me Without You

Starring: Michelle Williams, Anna Friel
Director: Sandra Goldbacher
Rated: NR
RunTime: 107 Minutes
Release Date: July 2002
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Deborah Findlay, Allan Corduner, Kyle MacLachlan, Trudie Styler, Oliver Milburn

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Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Driven by their rampant insecurities, teenage girls can be absolutely horrible to one another, a fact vividly illustrated by this compelling coming-of-age drama that traces the twisted, terrifying 30-year relationship between two British girls who make a pact to be friends forever. Anna Friel plays Marina, the beautiful, selfish, controlling leader of the dysfunctional duo, and Michelle Williams (Jen Lindley on TV's "Dawson's Creek") is Holly, her brainy yet vulnerable Jewish neighbor and willing accomplice as they explore hard drugs and casual sex. From puberty, Marina has frustrated Holly's crush on her roguish older brother, Nat (Oliver Milburn), subconsciously fearing that he might come between them. ("It's like incest.") When they're in college in Brighton, Holly expresses a romantic interest in a visiting American teacher (Kyle Maclachlan) and Marina moves in with a manipulative seduction. Yet even when heartbroken Holly becomes aware of Marina's sly, nasty game, she allows the festering, self-destructive friendship to continue. Director Sandra Goldbacher ("The Governess"), who co-wrote the screenplay with Laurence Corlat, perceptively delves into the passive-aggressive psychology of smothering co-dependence, illuminating elements of competition, jealousy, and resentment. The girls' respective parents are superbly delineated: Holly's (Allan Corduner, Deborah Findlay) are overly protective while Marina's youth-obsessed mother (Trudie Styler) can't hold on to her philandering pilot husband (Nicky Henson) - while the music and fashion fads reflect the passage of time. On the other hand, the outcome is totally predictable and the pace is jarringly uneven. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Me Without You" is sensitive, smart, savvy 7 about the struggle for self-esteem.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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