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Me Without You Review

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Childhood pals Holly and Marina make a pact to be friends forever. But Holly begins to feel trapped by her overbearing buddy - which isn't helped by her feelings for Marina's older brother.

★★★★★

With the success of Bridget Jones's Diary, and movies like Crush and Women Talking Dirty, the British film industry is indulging in a spot of female bonding. Here's a chance to prove that it's not just Hollywood who has the monopoly on chick flicks. And, in fact, the UK tends to do this kind of thing rather better - abandoning the genre's usual staples of terminal illness and who-will-love-my-children? style melancholia for something altogether more down-to-earth.

Director Goldbachers effort is no exception - it's a quirky little number which works for the most part, even if it is just a bit too eccentric for its own good.

Although Friel will undoubtedly receive more attention for her turn as wild child Marina, whose screwy childhood sends her spiralling into a world of heroin experimentation, casual sex and ever-changing hair colours, it's Williams who is the standout here, quietly understated as the strait-laced, nice, Jewish girl, Holly.

Although her plummy English accent does occasionally slip into mid-Atlantic twang, she's certainly the more likeable of the two, and the one you feel more sorry for as she works her way through a series of entirely unsuitable men. These include MacLachlan as a sleazy university tutor who manages to bed both of them, and Marina's brother (Milburn), the one she really wants.

Goldbacher gives the film its own identity with colourful supporting characters, vibrant costumes (taking advantage of the '70s/'80s setting to dress everybody up in punk and New Romantic outfits), and hand-drawn graphics, to mark the film's timespan.

There are no major revelations or shock twists here, just regular people dealing with whatever life throws at them. And to that extent, Me Without You offers lots of gentle comedy and a fair degree of charm, while painting a far more positive picture of suburbia than many other recent movies.

Although this adds nothing new to its well-worn genre, it's still a pleasant little time-passer which will keep Friel fans happy and, in Williams' case, prove there is life beyond Dawson.