At First Glance: “You’re Not You”

Som films that carry very heavy and serious subject matter can easily be weighed down by just that. Others, ones that end up being really good, can move beyond the serious. Allowing audiences to get more than just the dramatic moments from the subject matter and find something to cling to long after the film has ended.

The upcoming Entertainment One film “You’re Not You”, certainly deals with a serious issue, but fortunately isn’t constrained by it. It’s not another “Temple Grandin” like film.

This drama film stars Hilary Swank (“The Homesman”, “Mary and Martha”), Emmy Rossum (“Shameless”, “Before I Disappear”), Josh Duhamel (“Don Peyote”, “Safe Haven”), and Marcia Gay Harden (“Magic in the Moonlight”, “Trophy Wife”).

This drama is directed by George C. Wolfe (“Nights in Rodanthe”, “Lackawanna Blues”), and written by Shana Feste (“Endless Love”, “Country Strong”) and Jordan Roberts (“3, 2, 1… Frankie Goes Boom”, “Where the Water Meets thee Sky”). The film is based on the novel of the same name by Michelle Wildgen.

The film is slated to hit theaters in a limited release on Oct. 10, 2014. A wide theatrical release date has yet to be named.

As already stated, this film has a major issue that will be the films focal point, and that certainly is going to be bringing a lot of drama with it, as it should. The main character, Swank’s character, suffers from ALS, and she know’s she’s going to die. So in comes Rossum, as a caregiver for her, and a whole new angle is created by this simple, yet important, bit of storytelling.

Not only is their friendship between the two women, but there’s a strong bond that’s created from the different places they just happen to be in their lives. For me, that’s the major selling point of this film. Yes, it’s sad that Swank’s character has this deadly disease, but at the same time, that’s not the only thing that can come from such a diagnosis.

While it may seem like the light hearted approach to telling a story, I don’t feel like it completely falls into this category. So often, from my limited experience, a lot of people diagnosed with diseases tend to take steps back, as digesting their new situation, is hard, and may see this as a hopeless situation. Suddenly life, is no longer worth it. No matter what it was before. Here this film, and the trailer, are making sure that we understand that this is not the case. For Rossum, it appears as if there’s redemption for her, and Swank has a new outlook, or hope, on the remaining bits of time she has. Maybe not all that original, but here, it’s presented in such a beautiful and moving way, that I can’t help but be swept up in it.

I have no doubt that the actors, all of them, will manage to deliver good enough performances that I won’t find the characters or story, dull, and too forced. While it may not garner any spectacular acclaim, I’m sure it can achieve its simplest goal.
Interestingly, this film certainly has a similar feel to that of “The Family Stone”, in which it’s got a lot of dramatic moments, but allows for a lot of genuine humor and laughter to come from the characters. While this film may not have the family elements and drama that “The Family Stone”, does, it certainly makes up for it by giving us such flawed people who are learning from each other. They, in a way, become family, or the closest thing to it.

While I may personally find this film worth getting excited about, I know others may not. It may be seen as too formulaic, despite the fact that it’s adapted from a book. Or, it’s just that these sappy, tearjerker type films, which we’ve seen a lot of this summer, isn’t always the film people want to see, regardless of who’s starring in it. Until another trailer or clip, maybe an interview, says otherwise, I’m going to allow myself the opportunity to get excited for this film. It could end up surprising me more than I expect.

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