It’s hard to write characters that are deeply human. Characters that are driven by basic motivations, confided to archetypes and accentuated though exaggerations are much easier to pen and much easier for an audience to engage with because, essentially, they’re empty vessels. Everyone Else circumvents the common pratfall of fictional characters and in the process makes a far more mature and troubling film.
This is, in large part, because the audience has to deal with the complexity of characters written so well they’ve all the nuance of real people, perhaps even more so. The young couple Chris (Lars Eidinger) and Gitti (Brigit Minichmayr) defy any simple descriptors, typical roles or regular behaviors. Therefore, it’s a struggle to even grasp who these characters are, in large part because the film almost completely isolates them from their natural setting.
They’re on vacation in the Mediterranean, most of their time is spent together alone with little context to what their average lives might be like or how they would conduct themselves among everyone else. Therefore, what begins as a fun, sexy and idyllic vacation begins to morph into a period of doubt, questioning and deep self-examination, especially for Chris.
He is in limbo, he’s not getting the breaks he needs professionally and it causes him a stress that carries over into his relationship with Gitti. Even in the carefree days, the weight of adulthood and responsibility bears down on these characters as Gitti also gets calls from her work. And while the two seem to know little of each other’s work, it spills over into their relationship.
But it’s not all serious brooding and self-reflection, there’s a playfulness and lighthearted joy found among many lovers. Minichmayr and Eidinger have fantastic chemistry and their playfulness pops with every smile and laugh. Despite the overwhelming wave of adulthood, they still have those sparks of young, headstrong love.
What makes Everyone Else fascinating to watch is the ever looming threat that at any moment the relationship could collapse in on itself. The two characters can cut hard and bite deep with their words, both going for the Achilles heel of each other on multiple occasions. The sweet lips that professed love moments before are laced with poison moments later.
Therefore, when the actual concussion arrives, it’s hard to conclude much of anything. The relationship of these two characters is far more complex, involving and frail that most portrayed in movies. The actual device used to craft this particular ending feels a bit too over the top, but the point of the ending is well taken and the only honest way to draw any conclusion about this couple.
And it’s the honesty that makes the film impressive, the integrity of the characters and their brutally honest demeanor. Here’s a depiction of a relationship far more complex, dark and involving than your average film romance. It can be just as sappy as a romcom, but it’s laced with a bitter-sweetness much like the films of Woody Allen. Everyone Else may not be for anyone, but for those it is for, it provides a rich, provoking and dramatic romance sourly lacking in films today.
© 2011 James Blake Ewing