You’re Not You (2014)

You're Not You (2014)When I first read the title You’re Not You (2014) I was thinking this was going to be Hilary Swanks Still Alice (2014) which I was wary of. Instead it’s her version of The Theory of Everything (2014). Either comparison you could say is unfair or just coincidence. I decided to give this film which I had slipped by unnoticed last year, probably kept quiet in the wake of Eddie Redmayne was all but silenced. Instead of being a public figure we have a middle-class successful couple who have been married for 15 years. Immediately it feels too polished, to nice and soft. I can see the direction that the film is trying to go in, that anyone can develop Motor neurone disease which is both brave and honest, it can and does effect anyone.

What the real selling point of this film is that it has a female focus, which is refreshing too. There are too many male dominated films, sadly it takes an indie film to add to that minority in Hollywood today. With Swank as the sufferer Kate of the disease and her carer Bec (Emmy Rossum) who goes on the standard transformative journey from failed student to a better person. It’s all pretty standard really for a film that deals with a horrible disease that literally stops you in your tracks.

Ok with my initial thoughts laid out, I need to explore what actually went on. You can see from the start it’s going to be a gentler and more intimate film that has a small cast. Probably a budget aspect but it does allow us to get to know Kate and Bec all that much better. The middle class setting however cold it feels to the audience is there for a reason, looking beyond the nice clothes and house we have a woman with a debilitating disease who is not really understood by her friends who don’t usually see such suffering, wrapped in their comfortable lifestyle. However it feels like it’s poking at the middle class rather than making you think this is your friend who’s sitting there still.

The focusing being the patient carer relationship that begging 18 months into the disease when sometime university student Bec who we find sleeping around, enjoying her single life and all that comes with it. Good on her too, but it all gets shaken up when she goes for an interview that changes her life. The shot in the arm she needed really. Going through life with little responsibility besides looking after her grandma when she as younger, looking after Kate is a big step-up for her. A woman who has just sacked her last carer for making her feel like a patient, something you can really understand. What begins is a relationship that lasts the duration of the film through all the high and lows which get more depressing as the film goes on.

It nearly goes into assisted suicide territory that is quickly averted when they meet fellow sufferer Marilyn (Loretta Devine) and her carer Eric (Ernie Hudson) allowing them to share their experience, knowing that they neither of them are alone. I also have the sneaking suspicion that their inclusion was to tick the minority box so it’s not an all white film, or am I just being cynical. I have to say to Devine’s credit she makes he most of the rare straight role away from comedy. Either way Loretta being another sufferer gives Kate a friend and confidant that she cant have in Bec, making her think about her future which is coming faster than she thinks.

This is all whilst she has broken up with her husband Evan (Josh Duhamel) who has struggled being an almost sole carer and husband. Which the audience is supposed to related to, looking at another aspect of the situation. I just don’t care about him, coming across more of a pretty boy than anything else. I know this film has all the right intentions and is sensitive about Motor Neurone Disease which I can’t fault. The central performances are fine, but don’t really set the world alight, theres nothing that really pulls the heart strings that this subject matter really should do. Which is what Still Alice and The Theory of Everything both have in heaps, and Still Alice is also an indie film, something is definitely missing. 

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