You, Me And Him

**

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

You, Me And Him
"The sun shines, friends are endlessly patient (if not always very understanding), and even during its bleak moments, there’s always the promise of a happy ending."

There’s a myth among younger, inexperienced lesbians that relationships between women are simpler because all women basically want the same thing and know how to please each other. Time inevitably erodes such happy notions, which is why there’s room for messy romantic comedies like this one, and why heroine Olivia (Lucy Punch) should know better than to expect harmony with substantially younger girlfriend Alex (Faye Marsay). Alert to the ticking of her biological clock, Olivia longs for a baby with that intensity special to the genre, but Alex really isn’t ready and loathes the idea of ever carrying one herself. In a spectacular breach of trust, Olivia gets inseminated without Alex’s permission. Alex responds by getting blind drunk and shagging their next door neighbour.

There’s just one – predictable – complication. The next door neighbour is a man (John, played by a bearded and badly dressed David Tennant) and some women only need to go there once to end up in the condition Olivia has longed for for years. Naturally, there are recriminations, but being single is scarier when pregnant, so the couple patch it up – and John, who admits that he has nothing else in his life (except an ex-wife and a website catering to self-identified alpha males) tags along for the ride.

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At one point the film lurches unexpectedly into territory that some viewers may find traumatic, so it shouldn’t be approached as pure escapism, but otherwise it’s fluffy and lighthearted pretty much continually, despite the relationship drama and the women’s Bridget Jones style feelings of insecurity. It makes no concessions to male fantasy and is realistic about the fact that having sex with someone can happen without meaning anything as far as sexual orientation is concerned, but it’s sympathetic to John as well as the women. Unfortunately the heavily stylised approach limits what the actors can do and Tennant, in particular, is reduced to telling us what his character feels instead of acting it. His comic timing works well but otherwise he doesn’t get to exercise his talents as a performer.

Punch makes the strongest impression here, for all that her Joanna Lumley-lite act can get a bit wearing. Marsay is adequate but essentially just goes through the motions, and whilst both women are likeable enough for us to understand why they’d want to be together, there’s little real chemistry between them. The script revolves around a series of jokes and observations about pregnancy and lesbianism that we’ve all heard a thousand times before. Although Alex is presented as a starving artist and the women occasionally fret about how they’ll get by on one income, they’re both so clearly rolling in money that it doesn’t gel, and Olivia’s parents live in a stately home, perhaps as a sop to the US market. Everything about their lives is so cushioned that nothing they do seems very meaningful, up to and including becoming parents.

Of course, this isn’t a film striving for any kind of depth. It has plenty of bright colours, bright smiles, hugs and giddy promises. The sun shines, friends are endlessly patient (if not always very understanding), and even during its bleak moments, there’s always the promise of a happy ending. If you’re not looking for anything more than that, you may well have a great time. And flimsy though it is, it’s an honest portrait of the complexity of real life relationships as many people experience them – something mainstream cinema needs more of.

Reviewed on: 25 Feb 2018
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You, Me And Him packshot
A lawyer is anxious to have a baby but her artist girlfriend keeps putting it off. Then her neighbour gets involved.

Director: Daisy Aitkens

Writer: Daisy Aitkens

Starring: David Tennant, Faye Marsay, Lucy Punch, Sarah Parish, David Warner, Sally Phillips

Year: 2017

Runtime: 98 minutes

Country: UK

Festivals:

Glasgow 2018

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