It’s the last day of school in the South Bronx, and the kids who ride the same bus route all year are suddenly doing away with their inhibitions. Even the bullies are less bullylike. Anticipation of summer becomes the overriding emotion.
Friendships form quickly in the partly improvised “The We and the I,” which begins with a burst of energy, then slows down as adults get out of the way and other kids leave at their stops. In the end, the focus is on a few kids who are still on the bus just before dark.
Most are played by nonprofessionals who use their own names and introduce some autobiographical elements. The despondent central character, Teresa, is played by the recently jilted Teresa Lynn. She shares scenes with Michael Brodie, a teenager new to the Bronx who plays the fresh-faced Michael.
According to the film’s French director and co-writer, Michel Gondry, who made the trippy “Science of Sleep,” the high schoolers with the “most powerful stories” were the ones the filmmakers followed “right to the end.” The structure of the script was inspired by bus rides Gondry took in Paris.
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While the result seems authentic, “powerful” may be over-the-top. “The We and the I” is a collection of very thin stories, many of which feel incomplete.
John Hartl: firstname.lastname@example.org