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With the mainstream success of Brokeback Mountain, the avenues for expansion of the gay community are still quite limited. The machismo of action films is pretty much off limits and epic period pieces are pretty hard to have drag queens in so the one cinematic avenue left for success outside of dramatic romance would be the romantic comedy. And leave it to the British to blaze a trail with a relatively innocuous film in Imagine Me & You.
With a limited release in the US early in 2006, Imagine Me & You follows the romantic adventure of Rachel (Piper Perabo) and Luce (Lena Headey). Rachel is newly wed to Heck (Matthew Goode), and yet something magical happens at their wedding. Rachel matches eyes with Luce as she’s walking down the aisle and its love at first sight. Luce and Rachel find ways to meet up with each other and become friends, and the film’s focus is on the fine line between friendship and relationship as the two feel a mutual attraction but Rachel’s husband and Luce’s intention to never split up a couple leave the two’s mutual feelings at odds with one another.
It’s an interesting premise and definitely a promising concept in theory, but in actuality the film is just the usual romantic comedy premise and clichÃƒÂ©d proceedings except the couple in question is a pair of women. It’s different because of its romantic implications, but it follows the same sort of formula romantic comedies are made of. It’s a bit different because of the gender of the romantic partners but if all things are equal then even lesbians need a romantic comedy to call their own. More power to them, it can be thought, but in unlike Brokeback this doesn’t have nearly the same sort of quality to it.
It starts with the cast. This is a talented cast, of course, but it isn’t used very effectively. While the romance between Rachel and Luce is developed, the film’s initial romantic implication of Rachel and Heck isn’t developed enough for it to be plausible that Rachel would be unhappy. Goode, who was great in Match Point, isn’t on screen long enough to be given a character that’s fleshed out enough to make the film work on a much stronger level. The focus of the film is so heavily oriented towards Rachel & Luce that it leaves everything else in the dusk.
Imagine Me & You is shockingly tame in how it handles its subject. While the temptation might be to try and push the envelope by being a bit more exploitative of its two subjects, it handles the romantic implications of two women quite tastefully. During pivotal scenes it comes out like any other romantic scene involving a man and a woman. It’s acceptable and arousing without being exploitative, as the two leads have a good chemistry with each other that makes it wholly believable.
And that’s what keeps the film from being awful is that Perabo and Headey have a good connection with one another on an acting level. We would buy them as friends in any other roles, but as two star-crossed lovers it’s also believable because they have a nice interplay with one another. It would be interesting to see them starring together in a better film, but even in an above average one they are a good pairing. There’s a good give and take between the two, as well as good performances from them overall, that makes it entertaining and unique.
ClichÃƒÂ©d though it may be, Imagine Me & You is a moderately entertaining film that follows the same sort of rules and regulations of a romantic comedy while having a different look at human relations to say the least.
Score : 6.5 / 10
Presented in both widescreen and full screen formats, with 2.35:1 and 1.33:1 aspect ratios respectively, the film looks good but isn’t a terrific transfer. The colors are clear and sharp but they aren’t separated to a high degree and tend to mute on occasion.
Presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound format, the film has a great audio track. The film has subtle music and is dialogue heavy, which means the it isn’t going to test the limits of a home theatre, but it comes through quite well and separated.
Q&A with Director and Cast is an interview session with the major principles of the film about the film. It’s equal part interesting and electronic press kit as on one hand some softball questions are lobbed but at the same time there is some good banter regarding the film’s script and story as well. It’s interesting to hear the answers provided for the same sorts of questions by different cast members and Parker, as they shed different lights on the same subject. There are some good comments and candid opinions about the film despite some of the more EPK-oriented material involved in this. Matthew Goode’s comments are easily the best part of this feature as he’s completely self-effacing about himself, the film and the craft of acting as he riffs on a lot of different things in the time he’s provided.
Personal Statement by Director Ol Parker is a short piece by the director on his motivations behind the film as well as how he used his own experiences meeting his wife to try and film the scene in which Rachel and Luce figure out they’re in love with one another.
Deleted & Extended Scenes are included with the film and have the option of being played with a Director’s Commentary audio track on it. The scenes are unfinished and rough, unfortunately, but they’re a good start in how the film could’ve been better. The scenes cut aren’t much and don’t huge volumes back but they do add a bit more in terms of character development to all involved. The only reason why it’s evident these scenes were cut was for time as they add a lot to a story that could’ve used it.
Commentary By Writer/Director Ol Parker
Score : 6 / 10