Written By: Joseph Whitmarsh & Jamie Heinrich
Starring: Cameron Miller-Desart, Megan Fitzpatrick, Joseph Whitmarsh, Brian Boush, Erinn Sullivan, Sue Fenton.
Ryan (Miller-Desart) is an unhappy and unfulfilled high-school teenager with mental health problems. Neither of his parents seem to really care too deeply for him. When he’s present at the dinner table, they speak about him as if he isn’t there, and they don’t voice any high opinions of him. His girlfriend (Erinn Sullivan) is an unfaithful slut who seems to get some enjoyment out of constantly teasing him with the possibility of going all the way, but never following through. Due to his mental issues, he is forced to take medication daily. However, he doesn’t seem to have a ready cure for his constant nausea and vomiting. He begins every day with a dose of the medicine, and tries to convince himself that this new day will be better.
Fed up with his stagnant life, he decides to accompany his friend Jack (Boush) to Los Angeles so that they can start their life anew. Before they make their way out, he is teased one too many times by his girlfriend, robbed, and decides to throw away his medication. Jack and Ryan become separated at their first stop, and Jack abandons his friend in the middle of nowhere. Fortunately for Ryan, he meets a mysterious, beautiful young girl named Eve (Fitzpatrick) who seems genuinely interested in him. They make their way to a ranch owned by Wayne (Whitmarsh), a famous self-help television personality who spends time on his ranch when he’s not doing speaking or book tours. He’s very surprised that Ryan found him here at his quiet place, but he’s nice enough to let him stay for a few nights. As time goes on, Ryan spends more and more time with Eve and it’s clear that they like each other a lot. At the same time, Ryan grows more and more suspicious of Wayne, thinking that he could harm them at some point.
Several scenes during the film are some impressively shot montages set to some very good music. The music always seems to fit the scene’s tone. This approach works the best in the film’s introduction. In that sequence of the film, it does an excellent job of showing us Ryan’s life and daily struggles. However, the viewer may notice that these montage/music video scenes happen too often throughout the film, and they distract from the narrative. They occur so often that that it wouldn’t be inconceivable for the viewer to think, “And here comes another one of these.” Despite the overuse of the technique, the film is always very well-shot and the photography is frequently admirable.
The script isn’t as strong as the camera work. Though the opening act establishes Ryan as an empathetic character, seasoned viewers will realize quickly just what kind of narrator he is. In fact, I saw the closing scene’s big revelation coming from a mile away. It’s a cliche that’s been overused by plenty of different films out there. Granted, that’s not a flaw on this film’s part, but the poor execution certainly is. The second and third acts feel like they’re from a completely different movie as the first one, and not in a good way. They feel like a dream, but a dream where the dreamer knows that the events he’s undergoing don’t make sense while it’s going on. The film’s final moments aren’t fully fleshed out, and the final shots make even less sense in context. In fact, if the final moral of Ryan’s choice is what I think it is, it’s very ethically questionable.
Even though the film clocks in just over an hour, it feels much, much longer. It’s not particularly fun to watch, and aside from the cinematography, there’s not too much for the mind to chew on. It tries to be too artsy for its own good.
I wanted to like I’m Me. I really did; but when the ending credits rolled, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed. The director is clearly a talented artist, but I’m Me feels like a misfire. I’m sure that the cast and crew are capable of doing much better in the future.