Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome. See my complete profile
Mischa Barton is a down on her luck Russian slaughterhouse worker with dreams of becoming a model. You might want to read that sentence again, because that’s really the backstory for Barton’s character, Lana, in You and I, a film directed by two time Oscar nominee Roland Joffe that takes place in Russia, and uses the now broken up pop duo t.A.T.u. as the backdrop for the entire story.
Lana meets Shantel VanSanten’s character, Janie, an American living in Moscow, on a t.A.T.u. message board after Janie compliments her on her lyric writing. Yes, not JUST a slaughterhouse worker and aspiring model, Lana writes song lyrics on the side! The two decide to attend a t.A.T.u. concert in Moscow together. Their tickets turn out to be fakes, but this only works to inspire them to go on a mission to meet the duo.
As Lana and Janie run around the city from nightclub to nightclub, all the time Lana doing whatever she can to get herself a modeling career, they run into musicians, managers, and a rude photographer played by Bronson Pinchot, who gets the “how did you end up in this movie?” award. During all of this Janie makes it obvious that she would like her relationship with Laura to be a little more t.A.T.u.-like. Eventually Lana runs into trouble with the father of an obsessed wannabe boyfriend back home, and Janie falls into the drug world, before the film wraps up with a t.A.T.u. inspired conclusion.
Sound like a lot to fit into 101 minutes? It is. The pace of You and I is frantic, which leaves very little time for rounding out the characters. Almost everyone seems like a caricature with the exception of Janie, who is given the opportunity to be a whole person. This is also why, at times, it’s very hard to care what happens to Lana, as she wavers from being small town naive, to functionally retarded.
There are, however, some high points of You and I. Armed with a killer soundtrack, and a lot of sex, drugs, and faux lesbianism, You and I actually isn’t that bad a movie. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but, at least for me, it was an enjoyable viewing experience. Maybe it’s because of the over the top craziness of much of the plot and acting. Maybe it’s because I really like t.A.T.u. Whatever the reason, I can see myself watching it again (which is good, since I own it).
If you’re wondering how a movie that was directed by a two time Oscar nominee, and stars actresses from The O.C. and One Tree Hill, flew completely under the radar, the story of how You and I came to be is kind of crazy. Back when t.A.T.u. were at their height Aleksey Mitrofanov and Anastasiya Moiseeva wrote a novel titled t.A.T.u. Come Back. That novel was turned into a screenplay, and You and I, which also had a working title of Finding t.A.T.u., was born. The film played at the Cannes Film Market back in 2008, but after t.A.T.u. lost relevance in America, and eventually broke up, it was shelved by the studio. At the beginning of this year it was finally released on DVD.