Beyond a film about ALS, the devastating neurological disease that has spurred millions of Americans to dump buckets of ice water over their heads and donate money, George C. Wolfe’s touching drama “You’re Not You” (based on Michelle Wildgen’s novel) is a compelling portrait of female friendship weathering the proverbial maelstrom of life.
“It’s a non-romantic love story,” says star Emmy Rossum, who plays Bec, an adrift twentysomething hired as the caretaker of Kate (Hilary Swank), a gifted pianist stricken with ALS. “It’s about two women who become friends and realize they need each other and that they can learn from each other how to live. For me it was super powerful.”
So taken with Rossum’s performance, the sixth annual Carmel Intl. Film Festival is screening the film at 8 p.m. Oct. 16 and honoring the actress with its annual Breakthrough Award.
“A great film is when you can relate to it on a personal level and that’s what that film did for me,” says Thomas Burns, fest president and co-founder. “Both performances were remarkable, and, obviously, it’s a very current topic, but I think it is about the relationship and that’s what’s appealing on a much broader basis. That’s the mass appeal.”
From the moment she read the script, Rossum, currently shooting season 5 of Showtime’s “Shameless,” campaigned heavily for the lead role.
“I wanted it so badly,” Rossum says. “It’s a type of script that you read and sob and feel like it’s something you really want to be part of. I love the character. I (wanted) to fight for it. It was one of those scripts where, after you audition for it, you send an email (to the casting agents and producers) and say what it means to you and why you’re the only person for the role. And hopefully they bite. And they did.”
For Rossum, the Breakthrough Award is an encouraging validation of her commitment to her craft.
“Being recognized by the community is a wonderful feeling,” she says. “But you can never do work expecting that somebody will applaud you. My motto is always to just put it all out there and if they like it, they like it and if they don’t, they don’t. In this case people liked it and it’s a really good feeling.”