A high schooler is pursued by the spirit of her dead identical twin in Isabel Coixet's ludicrous bid for the teen-girl crowd.
A high schooler in Wales is pursued by the spirit of her dead identical twin in Isabel Coixet’s ludicrous bid for the teen-girl crowd, “Another Me.” Stunningly unsuccessful on all levels, this gothic dud wants to play on the real and metaphoric anxieties of post-adolescents discovering who they are, but the ham-fisted script is incapable of a multilayered approach, while the helming and editing are at the level of mediocre TV. The only explanation for why Rome programmed this in competition would be Coixet’s name, yet “Another Me” reflects poorly on both director and fest. Pic will do better in ancillary than in theatrical.
Sophie Turner’s fans from “Game of Thrones” may have their curiosity piqued, though her over-enunciated delivery in the opening voiceover, not to mention the unwise move of casting her character as Lady Macbeth in a school production, is unlikely to win her new admirers. She plays Fay, reeling from the news that her beloved father (Rhys Ifans) has multiple sclerosis. The idyll of her youth is over, replaced by life in a Cardiff housing project, but given that Brits read class as quickly as skin color, no one from the U.K. will believe that Fay and her mother (Claire Forlani) would wind up there, no matter how far they’ve come down in the world.
Odd things begin to happen in and around school: Fay sees a shadow but no person attached; lights go on and off; windows crack. (The latter is but one of many disjunctive elements tossed in to scare the viewer. It fails.) Then people like dotty old neighbor Mrs. Brennan (Geraldine Chaplin in ridiculous makeup) claim to have seen Fay in places she wasn’t in, and the teen begins to freak out. At first she thinks her mean-girl understudy, Monica (Charlotte Vega), is behind it all, but once her mother finally tells her she had an identical twin who died at birth, it all seems to make sense.
Well, sense is a relative term. Removing the paranormal element could have yielded a decent storyline: Teen struggles to cope with a sick, depressed father; a mother who’s having an affair (with Fay’s drama teacher, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers in a small role); and a first love in the shape of Drew (Gregg Sulkin), her Macbeth. Toss in the drop in income, blend with the usual post-pubescent angst, and there could be a good movie here; even with a supernatural overlay, as in the “Twilight” series or “Buffy,” there’s the possibility of melding these elements into a satisfying and meaningful take on the anxieties of growing up. Unfortunately, notwithstanding an obvious desire to lure the Bella Swan crowd, “Another Me” (originally titled “Panda Eyes”) generates neither chills nor empathy.
There are laughs, of the unintentional kind, as when Mrs. Brennan, refusing to believe Fay when she says she wasn’t on the stairs, shouts, “This is not ‘Gaslight’!” Truer words were never spoken, though the reference will likely go over the heads of the target audience. Chaplin is once again wasted, but in truth, no performance could overcome the script’s weaknesses or the lackluster direction in general. Perhaps thrillers just aren’t Coixet’s forte.
Lensing (by the helmer’s regular d.p. Jean-Claude Larrieu) and editing are uneven; a fight scene between Fay and Monica is a handheld mess, while an incongruous montage, more musicvid than feature-length movie, is wildly out of place. Visuals will look best on smallscreens.
Rome Film Review: 'Another Me'
Reviewed at Rome Film Festival (competing), Nov. 15, 2013. Running time: 84 MIN.
(U.K.-Spain) A Fox Intl. Prods. presentation of a Fox Intl. Prods., Rainy Day Films, Tornasol Films production, with the participation of TVE, in association with British Film Co., Film Agency for Wales, with the support of ICAA, with the participation of Canal Plus, in association with Messidor Films, ICEC, ICO, developed with Storm Front Prods. (International sales: 20th Century Fox Intl., Los Angeles.) Produced by Rebekah Gilbertson, Nicole Carmen-Davis, Mariela Besuievsky. Co-producers, Eugenio Perez, Clare Maclean, Marta Esteban. Executive producers, Steve Milne, Christian Eisenbeiss, Keith Potter, Sarah Golding, Cathy Macphail, Gerardo Herrero, Katherine Armfelt.