Knight at the Movies ARCHIVES
All This Love:
Imagine Me & You and Three of Hearts
Expanded Edition of 2-1-06 Knight at the Movies/Windy City Times column
by Richard Knight, Jr.
A sweet lesbian rom-com and an illuminating documentary
Attention ladies! At last you can leave all that Brokeback Mountain fuss momentarily in the dust between now and Oscar time as
another lesbian themed film is here to take its place. The attention the gay themed Brokeback has received is not unexpected but
as for lesbians, there have been so many independent films for so long on the subject matter they easily blend into the
mainstream. And romantic comedies in which audiences root for the girl to end up with the girl have been especially prevalent.
Imagine Me & You, a sweet, heartfelt British dramedy from writer-director Ol (short for “Oliver”) Parker, is a welcome addition to
On the day of her wedding, lovely Rachel is literally walking down the aisle when she unexpectedly locks eyes with her florist, Luce
(Lena Headey), a woman she has not seen until that moment. Rachel’s overbearing mother has handled the arrangements for her
wedding to the handsome, easy going Heck (Matthew Goode) so it’s not a complete surprise that Rachel hasn’t seen Luce before
(although it seems sort of farfetched). Nor is it surprising that the two meet “cute” a bit later in the day at the wedding reception
over the punch bowl while a not too subtle but funny “You Spin Me Round Like A Record” blares in the background. Lesbian icon
Dusty Springfield’s sultry “Look of Love” comes next (and I loved the imaginative use of the Turtles “Happy Together” which plays
over the credits as a lesbian anthem). It’s also not a surprise that the two ladies are going to fight their inner voices like hell – love
at first sight is one thing, to act on it just as you’ve gotten married, is quite another.
But what does surprise – what is truly refreshing here (and what sets the film apart and will hopefully help it get noticed) – is that
Rachel doesn’t have a problem with the fact that it’s a woman she’s falling for (and later, as the complications pile up, neither does
anyone else). At the outset, Rachel doesn’t seem to be particularly concerned about her growing attraction to a woman – it’s just
that the timing is so spectacularly bad and that she also doesn’t want to hurt her brand spanking new husband. As Goode plays
him, Heck is a truly affable guy, a step up from the stuttering dunderheads that Hugh Grant specializes in (Goode resembles Grant
somewhat as well). He’s not the kind of man it would be easy to hurt.
As for Luce, we quickly glean that she’s been hurt before (she responds to nagging from her mother to get a love life by saying, “I
have a like life”). Luce is content with her too quaint for words florist shop. Naturally, however, she and Rachel are constantly to be
thrown together through a series of comedic situations. But slowly, as the two admit their true feelings, the comedy deepens into
drama though a big finish, reminiscent of Notting Hill and many other British set romantic comedies, sorts everything out and there
are some unexpected twists and turns along the way which liven the proceedings.
The career of the New Jersey born Perabo (who handles the British accent with ease) has been an interesting one. After a
breakthrough performance as the shy singer/songwriter turned sexy bar dancing waitress in Coyote Ugly (a sort of cross between
Flashdance and Fame), Perabo next took the lead, not in another empty headed piece of eye candy, but as a schoolgirl passionately
involved with her female roommate at a boarding school in Lost & Delirious. A wonderful performance was overlooked by audiences
and many of the films that have followed haven’t been of much interest. She was the only one who registered in last year’s dreadful
The Cave (which, ironically, also co-starred Headey) but hopefully, with this delicately nuanced performance Perabo will regain the
attention she deserves.
She is matched onscreen by Headey as her independent, tantalizing lady in waiting. Headey played a no nonsense tough opposite
Heath Ledger and Matt Damon in The Brothers Grimm and matches up spectacularly with Perabo. And I liked that the nascent
romance wasn’t complicated with the requisite “hot” lesbian sex scene. Both Perabo and Headey generate plenty of heat that’s
accelerated because they’re both playing honorable characters who can't countenance a physical affair. Both are supported by an
expert ensemble of British actors. Goode, who broke through recently in Woody Allen’s Matchpoint, is especially fine as Rachel’s
almost too good to be true husband.
Imagine Me & You is surprising in another way that might seem unusual: straight, gay, or trisexual, you will find yourself rooting for
these two ladies to wind up together. If this delightful film – perfect romantic fare coming just a few weeks before Valentine’s Day –
has anything in common with Brokeback Mountain it is the inevitable truth that love knows no boundaries – especially those invented
by society at large.
The same can be said of Three of Hearts, an eye opening documentary that follows the real life ménage a trois of Sam, Steven
and Samantha over the course of eight blissful, sexy, playful, and extremely complicated years. This fascinating film opens this
Friday and plays for one week at Facets. Director Susan Kaplan befriended the threesome and became interested in the easygoing
nature of the relationship between them and slowly won the hesitant trio over.
The film opens as Samantha has become pregnant and continues through the birth of two children and heartbreaking complications.
Sam and Steven, gay lovers, we learn, decided to invite Samantha to join their relationship and it seems that, much to the surprise
of friends and family, the trio is indeed creating the subtitle of the film: A Postmodern Family. All three, in their own way, are
striking and distinctive camera subjects. But with the passing years come unexpected challenges that will severely stretch the
boundaries of the unusual relationship – all of which Kaplan, with her unfettered access to the three, records. A rare, insightful look
into what might be considered a social experiment. www.facets.org