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IMAGINE ME & YOU

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Piper Perabo, Lena Headey, Matthew Goode
Director: Ol Parker
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1, Full Screen 1.33:1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 93 Minutes
Release Date: June 27, 2006

“What does the lily mean?”

“It means I dare you to love me.”

Film **1/2

When a film has you hooked in and with it for nearly the entire time, only to end on a note that demands improvement, one’s reaction to it does take time to become clear. No other recent film has caused me to do this to a greater extent than Imagine Me & You. What begins as a real charmer and unique romantic comedy suddenly takes a desperate route and concludes in an all too familiar and safe manner.

Taking place in England, it all begins with a wedding. Rachel (Piper Perabo) and Heck (Matthew Goode) have been in love for the longest time and our about to tie the knot. The ceremony is a beauty. The reception that follows is nothing but immense fun for all the guests.

However, the day brings with it an unexpected discovery on the part of the bride. Upon meeting and becoming acquainted with the wedding florist, Luce (Lena Headey), Rachel experiences a human connection she never knew was possible. She feels it from minute one, and Luce feels it as well. But the feeling is denied at first, simply because Rachel is too busy celebrating her love for Heck.

But following that first meeting, all Rachel can do is think about the florist who worked her wedding. And Luce herself seems consumed by constant thoughts of Rachel. The twist of the matter is that Luce has always been a lesbian, while Rachel has never pondered such thoughts simply because she never knew she was capable of falling for another woman.

What is to be appreciated about Imagine Me & You is the way in which the two women take time to think about the true nature of their affection for one another. More importantly, the consequences of destroying a new marriage in order to start an entirely new bond of love are dealt with especially well. Not enough romantic comedies have enough realism like that.

But once the conflicts are overcome, the film just manages to end on a note that comes across was way too cute for its own good. Although I smiled plenty of times, the conclusion of the film simply doesn’t do justice to the level of realism that was displayed in the scenes prior to it. I wasn’t really at all happy at how the character of Heck (played tremendously by Matthew Goode of Match Point) was done away with. For one thing, and if you see the movie you’ll get a better understanding, Heck was too much of a great guy and did nothing to damage the marriage. He couldn’t have gotten a better resolution than the screenplay provided him with.

But I will say that Ms. Perabo and Headey display unique chemistry. All throughout the movie, we indeed believe them as two women who are undeniably in love with one another. As a bonus, Perabo, who’s American, dons a thoroughly believable British accent. That was something that completely caught me by surprised. She can officially stand alongside Renee Zellweger and Gwyneth Paltrow as American beauties who changed their dialects to perfection.

So for the most part, Imagine Me & You is as irresistible and charming of a movie as one could ask for. It’s only the concluding portion, as well as a few sitcom-inspired moments, that keep it from being the complete and invigorating film it could have been. By the end, I was simply reminded of the far superior Love Actually, and how this film seemed to want to end on the same breezy note just a little too much.

That having been said, you can do a lot worse than this film.

Video ****

Fox’s handling of this film is quite glorious to the eye. The disc is a flipper, but you’ll want to stick with the anamorphic widescreen side, as always. Picture quality is as sharp and beautiful as an England-based film can be. Image is thoroughly sharp and clear to perfection, and colors are terrifically vibrant. Quite a tremendously handled presentation.

Audio ***

For a dialogue-oriented comedy, the 5.1 mix does immensely well with what it is given. Dialogue delivery is as clear and distinct as one could hope for. Various music tracks play off quite well, most notably the classic “Happy Together” by The Turtles, which concludes the film.

Features ***

Featured on the disc is a commentary track with writer/director Ol Parker, as well as a Personal Statement. Also included are Deleted Scenes with optional commentary and a Q & A with the Director and Cast, which is most insightful.

Summary:

I wanted to like this film so much, and it does have its moments. But in the end, Imagine Me & You is a film missing a much better conclusion. But the cast does shine and the film never ceases to charm. Romantic movie buffs will definitely get their fix.

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