Director: Wanweaw Hongvivatana, Weawwan Hongvivatana
Cast: Thitiya Jirapornsilp, Anthony Buisseret
Runtime: 2 hrs 2 mins
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 2 March 2023
Synopsis: In 1999, while the world is gripped by the Y2K scare, identical twin sisters “You” and “Me” are also concerned for their future. The twins are so close with one another to the point that they share every aspect of life with each other. One day, a boy named “Mark” comes into their lives. When the twins are confronted with their “first loves which are not shareable” unlike everything else, how will this internal conflict lead the twins into a new phase of their life?
Two decades ago, the simple but oh-so-sweet story of two childhood sweethearts in ‘My Girl’ became the top-grossing domestic film in Thailand and charmed its way into the hearts of audiences across the world. ‘You and Me and Me’, the latest production from the same powerhouse studio GDH, has been compared to ‘My Girl’ for various reasons, including its story of first love and period setting; but despite some broad similarities, this debut film from twins Wanwaew and Waewwan Hongvivat is very much its own movie for all the right reasons.
Obviously inspired by their own experience, directors Wanwaew-Waewwan Hongvivat explore how a pair of twins who share practically every aspect of life with each other navigate the complexities of first love. Said twins are You and Me (both played by newcomer Thitiya Jirapornsilp), who look absolutely alike physically except for a facial mole on Me but not You. As a prologue explains, You and Me have exploited their likeness to their advantage, including taking turns to eat at buffets and entering cinema halls; their latest exploit involves having Me cover up the mole on her face in order to disguise herself as You to take a Maths retest in school on You’s behalf.
It is at the retest that Me meets Mark (Anthony Buisseret), a sweet, handsome boy who breaks his pencil into half to share it with her when she realises she had forgotten her stationery. Though Me tries to follow up that encounter with Mark, the latter moves back to his village before she is able to reconnect. As fate would have it, after a bitter quarrel between their parents over their father’s infidelity, their mother takes You and Me to stay with their grandmother; there, You runs into Mark while going for phin lessons, and though You wasn’t the one at the earlier meet-cute, she and Mark gradually bond over more phin lessons and motorcycle rides by the countryside.
Not surprisingly, You ends up falling for Mark, and in her naivety, not only seeks Me’s advice how to make Mark fall for her but also invites Me to join her on their dates. Things come to a head when Me intentionally divulges that it was her at the retest that day, prompting Mark to ponder if it was You or Me that he is in love with. Needless to say, Me’s jealousy causes a rift between the twin sisters, which ends up being compounded by the certainty of their parents’ imminent divorce. Without giving too much away, let’s just say there is a deus ex machina that gives You and Me the clarity they need to heal their relationship, as well as to cross into the Y2K with quiet confidence of what the future would hold for them.
Under the tutelage of producer Banjong Pisanthanakun, who directed the crowd-pleasing rom-coms ‘Hello Stranger’ and ‘One Day’, ‘You and Me and Me’ paints an intimate picture of how inseparable You and Me are to each other, while detailing the important differences between their personalities. That we get to know both You and Me so deeply is credit to Jirapornsilp, who brings out the nuances in both characters beautifully; indeed, as Hong Kong director Peter Chan said, it is a wonder when you realise that both You and Me are played by the same actress, and especially a first-time film actress at that.
Just as noteworthy is how the film portrays how simple yet complex first love can be – simple in how it often starts with a feeling that grows and grows, and complex in how you never truly know if you can trust in it until it is backed by commitment. Here, both You and Mark grapple with not just their feelings for each other but also their doubts whether these feelings are exclusive or can be transferred to that between Me and Mark. Juxtaposing their coming-of-age love story against the turn of the Y2K century also adds an extra nostalgic touch, especially for those who have lived through the change of times.
So despite sharing some thematic similarities with ‘My Girl’, ‘You and Me and Me’ ultimately stands on its own as a tender, heart-warming and poignant teenage rom-com. For those who had grown up in the Y2K era, it is a heartfelt reminder of what first love felt like; and for those who have yet or have the privilege to still be going through their first love, it is likely a reflection of the joys, anxieties and perhaps even heartbreak that comes with it. It is also another worthy crowd-pleaser from GDH, a breakout film for the immensely talented Jirapornsilp, and one ultimately that you and me and me should see to laugh, to feel, and most of all, to reminisce.
(Tender, heart-warming and poignant, this coming-of-age love story is a beautiful reminder and reflection of the simplicities and complexities of first love)
Review by Gabriel Chong