Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5  
Me Without You (2001)
15

Distinguished by Anna Friel's constantly changing barnet, "Me Without You" may well be that rare bird - the internationally accessible British film.

The story concerns two childhood pals, Marina (Friel) and Holly (Williams). Having made a pact during the hot summer of 1973 to be friends forever, the duo inevitably fall in and out of kinship over the next two decades. For such a simple set-up, what follows is surprisingly entertaining stuff.

Marina is beautiful and wild - the product of a glamorous mother and inattentive father. Mousy, hardworking Holly (Williams), meanwhile, has only ever been taught by her dour mother that it's better to be clever than pretty. The two girls experiment with drugs together, go to the same uni, and unknowingly share lovers, in a symbiotic friendship which threatens to suffocate them both as they grow older.

Friel seems born to play the good-time girl, while Williams exercises her acting chops with a perfect English accent and subtle study of longing. Also excellent are MacLachlan as an amusingly pretentious and predatory lecturer; Styler's glamourpuss mum; and Milburn, who plays Marina's older brother and the object of Holly's affection.

Delighting in the awkward phases, childhood obsessions, petty jealousies, and style disasters that universally shape adolescence, director and writer Goldbacher effectively explores the love-hate and competitive nature of close female relationships with wit, evocative staging, and a whimsical soundtrack.

End Credits

Director: Sandra Goldbacher

Writer: Sandra Goldbacher

Stars: Anna Friel, Michelle Williams, Kyle MacLachlan, Oliver Milburn, Trudie Styler

Genre: Drama

Length: 107 minutes

Cinema: 23 November 2001

Country: UK

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