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Movie Review: The We and the I

May 16, 2013

The We and the I PosterThe We and the I – A 108 Media Release

http://www.partizan.com/films/film/we-and-i-film/

Release Date: May 17th, 2013 @ TIFF Bell Lightbox

Rated 14A for coarse language, nudity and sexual content

Running time: 103 minutes

Michel Gondry (dir.)

Michel Gondry (screenplay)

Jeffrey Grimshaw (screenplay)

Paul Proch (screenplay)

Michael Brodie as Michael

Teresa Lynn as Teresa

Laidychen Carrasco as Laidychen

Raymond Delgado as Little Raymond

Jonathan Ortiz as Jonathan

Jonathan Worrell as Big T

Alex Barrios as Alex

Meghan Murphy as Niomi

Chenkon Carrasco as Chen

Raymond Rios as Big Raymond

Brandon Diaz as Brandon

Mia Lobo as Bus Driver

The We and The I

©108 Media.  All Rights Reserved.

Teresa (Teresa Lynn) and Michael (Michael Brodie) in The We and the I.

Our reviews below:

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The We and the I Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

A group of high school kids in New York get on the bus after their last day in class before the summer, interacting and clashing with each other between the stops, maintaining their relationships and drifting apart as they slowly depart.  This is the premise behind The We and the I, a believable coming of age film that is carried by authentic acting from the natural leads.  Directed by Michel Gondry, with portions of the screenplay taken from his own experiences growing up in France, we are taken on a journey on the bus of teenage life, and all of the nastiness that comes with it.

The film is light on plot and the characters are sometimes shockingly unlikable in the ways that they are increasingly mean to those around them, which can make the 103 minute running time feel longer than it is.  But the uniformly strong performances keep things watchable.  The film actually picks up once it becomes more focused on the individual characters, and the stylistic touches that pop up throughout to give us more of the backstory are generally effective.  For better and for worse, this is a believable film that sometimes feels authentic to the point that it could have been a documentary, with all of the bullying and arguing over relationships ringing true to the majority of high school experiences.

The film sometimes feels uncomfortably real to the experiences it authentically emulates, occasionally to the point of tedium.  But good performances and a smooth soundtrack of classic hip hop songs make The We and the I a believable look at a group of city kids coming together and falling apart.

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The We and the I Review by Erin V.

**1/4 (out of 4)

Taking place on a New York city bus on the last day of school, The We and the I is a look into the lives of a group of high schoolers as they interact with each other – some for the last time before graduating, and others before the summer break.  We open with the bullies on the bus and with each section of the film move through until we’ve sort of pieced together where everyone fits into everyone else’s stories.  By the time the bus starts emptying out, the film allows its characters to become more intimate and becomes a little more interesting.

It’s not that the film is not good – it is a decent effort with fine performances – but it is a little long at 1 hour, 44 minutes.  In my mind it would have sustained itself better twenty minutes shorter.  Still, if the trailer intrigues you, you might want to seek this indie out.

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The We and the I Review by Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

The We and the I follows several teens as they head home on a bus on the last day of school.  The film is in three parts.  In the first part, we see the cruel disrespect that the bully kids have for everybody, both classmates and other random passengers on the bus.  This part, while unfortunately quite realistic, is annoying and too long.  However, one passenger gets back in a funny scene that is right out of the first two Madagascar films.

In the second part, we get to know the characters better.  We begin to get glimpses into their lives, and begin to find out who these kids are.  The third part is the most interesting, making the film worth seeing.  Here we get to know a few characters more intimately.  The conversations between these kids is moving, touching and sometimes heartbreaking.  When news of a tragedy occurs, we see a side of two of them that we didn’t see before.

The We and the I takes a realistic look at teenagers growing up in a poor area of new York City.  The performances are all quite believable and heartfelt, yet deceptively simple.  What makes this film more interesting is that it stars real teenagers from a public school, as opposed to actors in their 20s.  The We and the I is an interesting movie that, while fictional, often feels like a documentary.  This one is worth checking out.

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The We and the I Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

Filmed in documentary style, French director Michel Gondry follows a fictional group of inner city New York teens on a public transit bus as they head home on the final day of school before sumer break.

When the rowdy teens pile out of school they literally take over the whole bus.  With the bus driver (Mia Lobo) continuously shouting move on back, four of the “bad boys” in the group take over the farthest back seat.  Led by Michael (Michael Brodie) the loud-mouthed, tough talking guys decide who sits where, who gets moved and who gets to have a pleasant ride on “their” bus.

Sitting elsewhere are groups of girls talking, including Niomi (Meghan Murphy) who’s planning her sweet 16 party with advice from her friend Laidychen (Laidychen Carrasco).  Mixed in are various loners, outsiders who endure taunts and threats from the back of the bus.  Then there’s Teresa (Teresa Lynn) wearing a blond wig who clearly has some issues and a history with Michael.

For the first half of the film it’s pure mayhem with bullying and crude exchanges being the focus.  As the ride continues we get to know some of the characters stories even if we don’t like them any better.  It’s when the bus has only a few passengers left and we get exchanges between Michael and a guy wearing headphones and then between Michael and Teresa that the film feels stronger.  We start to sense the I rather than the We.

The We and the I works mainly because of the strong performances from the talented cast of inner city local teens.  While hard to watch at times and a little too long, the film is still worth checking out for those interested in inner city life.

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The We and the I Review by Tony

** (out of 4)

The We and the I is set almost entirely within a South Bronx bus taking students home on the last day of high school. Though it is fictitious, running for over 100 minutes on the fake BX66 route (no real routes beyond BX55), the talented cast from a local collective gives the film a documentary feel, despite the rock steady Red camera images unlikely shot on a moving bus.

I found the students as a group quite obnoxious at first, constantly taunting each other and the handful of adults on the bus. Though one gradually does get to know and become mildly invested in some of them as individuals, there are really too many to keep track of and I personally was glad to see the last of them once the ride was over.

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Consensus: Directed by Michel Gondry, The We and the I is a little overlong and sometimes feels authentic to the point of tedium, but the believable performances of the natural actors make this coming of age film worth a look.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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