Review: Me, Myself and Her (Io e lei)

Margherita Buy stars and Sabrina Ferilli in Me, Myself and Her

Me, Myself and Her (Io e lei in the original Italian) is a 2015 romance from Italy. It features two women in love, which some reviews I read consider a revolutionary idea for an Italian film.

Margherita Buy stars as Federica. Sabrina Ferilli is Marina. This is a far from perfect romance, but the acting from these two principal characters was wonderful. It saved the film from being a total cliché.

Federica and Marina have been together for 5 years. They have a wonderful relationship and a wonderful life. Federica has an ex-husband and a grown son. Loving Marina took her by surprise and she isn’t comfortable being out. Admitting she’s a lesbian (or probably more correctly bi) makes her nervous.

When Marina, a former actress, grants an interview to a magazine and mentions that she’s currently in love with an architect named Federica, it sets Federica off. She doesn’t want to be public. She’s embarrassed.

Marina, who hasn’t acted in 15 years, is offered a role. Federica is terrified about the publicity it would bring.

Fans of Last Tango in Halifax will get what I mean when I say Federica’s pulling a Caroline Elliot. She needs to get right with herself.

Fausto Maria Sciarappa in Me, Mysef and Her
Fausto Maria Sciarappa plays Marco. Boy is he trouble

At this tense moment in their relationship, Federica runs into Marco (Fausto Maria Sciarappa) a man she was attracted to years ago. She begins an affair with him. (Oh, dear. Can you say The Kids are All Right?)

Marina discovers the affair, of course. There’s a confrontation. Federica can’t figure out what she’s doing or who she wants to be with. Stay? Go? Mess things up completely? What will Federica do?

This song plays frequently in the film:

There were bells on a hill
But I never heard them ringing
No, I never heard them at all
Till there was you

There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging
No, I never saw them at all
Till there was you

There was love all around
But I never heard it singing
No, I never heard it at all
Till there was you

Do those lyrics apply to Federica finally improving her eyesight so she can see the beauty of the individual leaves on the trees (thank you Grey’s Anatomy), or do they refer to the un-embarrassing safety of Marco? I’m guessing you can figure out the answer to that one.

Speaking of that song (from The Music Man), I’d never thought of it applied to the many women who later in life discover they actually prefer to be with a woman instead of a man. It’s corny but it works.

Me, Myself and Her would have been a better film if Marco had never entered the picture. Surely a woman as intelligent and wise as Federica can reach a comfortable understanding of who she loves. Why is it so hard to get right with yourself? Maybe it’s because Federica thinks it’s about sex when it’s actually about love.

Although I had issues with the film, the two stars do such a good job with their characters that Me, Myself and Her is charming and enjoyable.

Poster for Mr, Myself and Her

Maria Sole Tognazzi wrote and directed Me, Myself and Her. Tognazzi is an award winning director in Italy, and won an award for this film. It is always refreshing to find a film with two female lead characters and a female director. Right now, this one is available on Netflix, Amazon Video and iTunes.

Watch the Trailer for Me, Myself and Her

3 thoughts on “Review: Me, Myself and Her (Io e lei)”

  1. Pingback: Recommended Foreign Language Films and TV Series - Old Ain't Dead

  2. I’m Italian so maybe I have a more inside view of the environment in which this story takes place. Personally I found it delightful and told very politely without falling into easy morbidities designed to attract an audience looking for that kind of film. Of course the film travels on clichés but it is deliberately so, because what It wanted to tell is the crisis of a couple of middle-aged women in a country that certainly accepts better today than it did twenty years ago a similar situation but that still hasn’t fully come to terms with what comes out of the box. When the film was shot, in 2015, in Italy there was still no possibility for homosexual couples to legally formalize their union (the law was approved only the following year and with many amendments that watered down its intent and distancing it from a real marriage, even if only civil) and therefore a woman like Federica could not fail to have big problems in reconciling herself with her homosexuality. On the other hand, the figure of Marina is beautiful, a lesbian by now resolved, but deeply in love with her woman and in tremendous suffering not only at the idea of ​​losing her, but also because she understands that in the depths her partner has never really accepted their relation. But both characters come out very well also through their flaws and even the figure of Federica with her internal struggles manages to come out three-dimensional and credible. If anything, it is the male figures (the ex-husband and the lover) who are somewhat sketchy and stereotyped, but this too was probably wanted, because they had to serve only as disturbing elements and triggering the crisis between the two protagonists in order to make sure that they eventually found each other again. In short, in the end a small film that in my opinion has made an important contribution to improving the narrow mentality of a society that is still too tied to the past. If today in Italy two men, or two women can openly live their love story, it is more thanks to a small film like this than to any Pride march or event.

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