Me and You
Film Title: Me and You
Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
Starring: Jacopo Olmo Antinori, Tea Falco
Running Time: 91 min
H H We didn’t used to want to experience cold turkey here at The Irish Times , but Bernardo Bertolucci’s new film has really enlightened us as to the lighter side of heroin addiction and withdrawalfrom same.
Extrapolated from a Young Adult novel by Niccolò Ammaniti (author of I’m Not Scared ) and twisted into the graven image of virtually any lesser Bertolucci outing from the past two decades, Me and You seldom makes one think of phrases such as “From the director of The Conformist and The Spider’s Stratagem ”. If anything, this flimsy, wholly unrealistic two-step – inexplicably released several weeks after its UK run – makes one yearn for such superior mid-to-low table Bertolucci joints as Little Buddha and The Sheltering Sky .
A horrid gumbo combining the inappropriateness of Stealing Beauty , the many weaknesses of Besieged and the outrageous middlebrowism of The Dreamers , Me and You plays out a near-miss, quasi-incestuous relationship between a thoroughly unlikeable 14-year-old and his older, drug-addicted half sister.
We meet Lorenzo (Jacopo Olmo Antinori) as he hatches a plan to skip out on a school ski trip, spend the money on an ant farm, and hide out in the abandoned basement of the building where his enormously privileged dysfunctional family reside. His well-preserved trophy wife mom (Sonia Bergamasco) offers him a new GNU board for the vacation but is rewarded with her son’s queasy sexual “compliments”.
Lorenzo is soon joined in his elegantly distressed refuge – oh look, ostrich feathers and hats – by his elegantly distressed half-sister Olivia (Tea Falco) as she “endures” an elegantly distressed detoxification away from an unlikely smack habit. Picture Home Alone if Joe Pesci was a drop- dead gorgeous 20-something girl.
Everything about the film’s youthful vigour is bogus. An Italian rendition of David Bowie’s Space Oddity is downright embarrassing to behold. This is an older gentleman’s film set in what one can’t help but feel is no country for old men. It makes one think of Bertolucci’s fellow Italian, Silvio Berlusconi.
We want to like the 72-year-old director’s late films: we really do. He has, after all, authored some of the greatest movies ever made. But he ain’t making it easy.