I’m not even sure how I came to own my copy of Me Without You. I believe my mum got it in some deal, possibly even free with a magazine. However, I came across it, it replaced such cult classics The Goonies and Labyrinth as my all-time favourite. This is the film I force my friends to watch when I just need to wallow in emotions, the one girly film any romantic partner is forced to endure. And, at the very least, pretend to enjoy.
It instantly drew me in because of its soundtrack. Classics of the 70s and 80s with Barbara Dickson, The Clash and Wreckless Eric, how could I not fall in love. Lucy Street’s ‘White Horses’ introduces the audiences to a typical street in 1973 – the recklessness of youth – where we meet the main characters Marina and Holly, two seemingly different girls who just happen to live nextdoor to each other.
When I sat down on DVD night with my best friend, I realised that – were this film to reflect any aspect of my own life – I would be the carefree, chaotic Marina, played by Anna Friel, and she the mousey, careful Holly, played by Michelle Williams. My childhood, just as Marina’s in the film, was that of a broken home in a time when divorce was neither cool nor common. Still, I always felt I was Marina, the collaboration of the two girls as one, as displayed in a childish form of witchcraft in the opening scenes.
As well as a captivating soundtrack, which takes you through the emotions, this film has a raw honesty which perfectly reflects the transition between adolescence and adulthood. With literary references such as Robert Graves’ “Love is a universal migraine” and more simplistic comments o society – “some people are pretty people; some people are smart people” – this film 107 minutes of critique on a society in development.
There are many forms of love in the world, and this film picks at each of them.
Romantic love, the combination of passion, lust and commitment, takes a strong footing. Holly begins a long attachment to Marina’s Nat, played by Oliver Milburn, which seems destined to be doomed from the start. Marina, whose father was rarely around, has a string of unsatisfactory lovers, and even sees her change religion in a hope for something true and pure.
But it is the love between the two female characters which shines through the murky waters of romance. From start to finish Marina and Holly play a game of battleships as they fight to stay friends through the odds, with the sentiments summed up when the words “There’s no me without you,” escape the lips of a desperate Marina.
It is this sentiment that makes this the chick flick of my choice. I refer to my best friend as my soul mate, a friend above friends in the bigger picture. Without her, I can’t image life. We’re not close by most of the time, with her down in London and me up in the mysterious North, but so long as I am able to send a postcard or pick up the phone for a chat, life is good.
This film is a depiction of life, of all that makes life living: the good, the bad, the downright ugly moments.