What it's about:
A funny, defiantly unsentimental and starkly moving portrait of a high-stakes friendship between two women—one literally in need of a voice, the other discovering the full power of hers.
What we thought:
I always seem to be drawn to the tearjerker, emotional movies. And You’re Not You is a tearjerker of note!
Hilary Swank plays Kate, and from the opening scenes you get a pretty good idea of the type of person she is. A classically trained pianist she’s organised and meticulous - a classic type A personality. She has a great marriage with Evan (Josh Duhamel); life seems to be pretty good.
But as in real life and the movies things can change in a minute. Fast forward to a year and we see a different Kate after she was diagnosed with the crippling disease ALS. She is frail, in a wheelchair and her speech is a bit impaired. Evan is performing the most basic tasks for her.
You feel her frustration at her inability to do the smallest tasks for herself. She takes her care giving into her own hands when she fires the nurse her husband employed for her.
Enter Bec (Emmy Rossum), a rebellious, self-destructive, unemployed college student who can hardly take care of herself, let alone someone else. Bec spends her nights getting drunk in bars and having one night stands with men whose names she can’t remember the morning after. She’s an aspiring musician but punks out when she has to perform at open mic sessions. She has absolutely no nursing experience. But Kate picks her.
At this point you know where the movie is headed: taking care of Kate will be a life changing experience for Bec that will in the end make her a better person.
There are some plot devices that keep things interesting. Evan cheats on Kate. We meet Bec’s horrible mother (Marcia Gay Harden) which lends some insight into why Bec is the way she is. Kate and Bec have a fallout when Kate discovers Bec is having an affair with a married college professor. We meet Kate’s (Gwen) mother who is really no different from Bec’s, an upper class snob who keeps things up for the sake of appearances. We also meet Marilyn (Loretta Devine), another ALS patient whom Kate becomes good friends with. How she copes with the disease is a balm and inspiration for Kate.
Hilary Swank gives a memorable performance as Kate. She embodies the character to a T. Emmy Rossum is convincing in her role as rebellious young adult who goes through metamorphosis.
There is a perfect balance between serious and light-hearted moments. Personally I didn’t feel that it relied too much on melodrama. At its core it is a story of how life deals its knocks, how we just cope with it and just carry on living.
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