Movie Review: 'The We and the I,' -- 2 stars
The We and the I
Directed by Michel Gondry
Starring Michael Brodie, Teresa Lynn, Raymond Delgado
There are few worse feelings for a New York City commuter than being trapped on a bus or subway with a swarm of loud, assertive school kids. Your peaceful ride with your iPod, your Kindle -- or the latest copy of amNewYork -- is all but guaranteed to be ruined.
That sense memory is evoked early and often by Michel Gondry's "The We and the I," a narrative feature that the "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" director crafted and shot with a group of Bronx teens he met at workshops held by a Hunts Point community center. Set on the fictional BX66 bus, the film follows dozens of high school students on a ride home at the end of the school year.
Gondry's bus offers a microcosmic rendering of the heady emotions of youth, captured and distilled over the course of a long afternoon. There's no structure or plot, just the intersection of different half-realized characters and a portrait of their contrasting relationships.
It's an admirable venture for a filmmaker with a history of taking on projects that stand outside storytelling norms. His first-time actors give it their all. But while the movie aims for poignancy, it achieves mostly exasperation: a naturalistic depiction of the experience of being trapped on a city bus with rambunctious teens for 90 minutes.