Me Myself I

France/Australia 1999

Reviewed by Geoffrey Macnab


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Pamela Drury, a successful journalist in her thirties, is single and regrets turning down college sweetheart Robert Dickson's marriage proposal 13 years ago. Pamela is now attracted to crisis counsellor Ben but thinks he's already married and is put off asking him out.

After almost being run over, Pamela meets a woman who looks remarkably like her. This doppelganger turns out to have married Dickson and is living a seemingly idyllic life with three kids. Startled to meet her alternative self, Pamela is even more perplexed when her double vanishes, leaving her to look after the children.

Pamela soon realises that married life has its problems. Robert, an overworked businessman, is always too tired to have sex and the kids are a handful. When Pamela discovers Robert's been unfaithful, she has a fling with Ben, the crisis counsellor she met in her 'other' life, now a journalist. In a local restaurant, Robert proposes that he and Pamela renew their marriage vows. While she's in the bathroom, her double (who has been living her old life) turns up. They both return to their old lives. Single once more, Pamela meets Ben and, learning he is divorced, arranges to see him again.


Given its identity-swapping scenario, in which Pamela, a single journalist in her thirties, encounters her double and assumes her role as a suburban wife and mum, it's not surprising that Me Myself I seems schizophrenic. The pitch is superficially similar to that of Sliding Doors or La Double Vie de VĂ©ronique, but writer-director Pip Karmel (who edited Shine) is only interested in telling one side of the story. We're never shown how Pamela's double copes with the transition from housewife to city-based hack. Nor is the switch ever properly explained. Instead, her film follows Pamela as she adapts to family life.

In the early scenes, as she swigs vodka, goes on disastrous dates and bemoans her solitary lifestyle, Pamela comes across as a comic version of the singles-bar addict Diane Keaton played in Looking for Mr Goodbar (1977). At one point, she rails against the men who have let her down ("Bastard, coward, misogynist, commitment phobe, dental surgeon"), then later attempts suicide. But if she finds singledom miserable, she soon realises the family life she yearns for is equally oppressive.

In his documentary A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese through American Movies, the director discussed how such 50s melodramas as All That Heaven Allows and Bigger Than Life showed the "psychotic undercurrents" of American family life - "the sugar and the poison," as Scorsese put it. In its most unsettling moments, My Myself I does something similar with the Australian suburbs. Pamela is a stranger, taken for granted by the family whose lives she has moved into. Her husband is patronising, chauvinistic and snores, one son is constantly rude to her and the teenage daughter is sarcastic and hostile. If this is what she has missed out on by pursuing her career so single-mindedly, she's had a lucky escape.

Karmel's screenplay is more tricksy than ingenious. She never explains how Pamela is able to pick up so quickly on her double's lifestyle and to strike up an instant rapport with three children she has never met before. The real 'Mr Right', crisis counsellor Ben, seems unattainable - until the final-reel contrivances throw him into Pamela's lap. The plotting may be feeble, but Karmel at least has a nice line in barbed one-liners and sight gags. There's an earthiness to the humour that you rarely find in Hollywood's romantic comedies. Bodily functions are always to the fore: the youngest of the children, for instance, is incapable of wiping his backside without Pamela's help.

With a less spiky star, all this might have seemed grossly self-indulgent, but Rachel Griffiths is too strong an actress to allow Pamela to turn into yet another fey Bridget Jones clone. This said, Me Myself I's determination to deliver a happy ending runs against the grain of much of the film. Karmel has spent so long detailing both the horrors of suburbia and the shortcomings of the single lifestyle that the upbeat finale rings hollow. Both Pamelas, one suspects, won't be happy for long.


Pip Karmel
Fabien Liron
Pip Karmel
Director of Photography
Graham Lind
Denise Haratzis
Production Designer
Murray Picknett
Charlie Chan
Production Companies
Gaumont presents a Gaumont production
Developed with the assistance from New South Wales Film and Television Office
Developed in association with the Australian Film Commission
Executive Producer
Les Films du Loup
Andrena Finlay
Line Producer
Vicki Popplewell
Production Co-ordinator
Basia Plachecki
Unit Manager
Simon Lucas
Location Manager
Robin Clifton
Post-production Supervisor
Rose Dority Winchester
Assistant Directors
Vicki Sugars
Ian Hamilton
Jo Hall
Katie Stooke
Sue Wiley
Shauna Wolifson
Mullinars Consultants
UK Consultant:
Nina Gold Casting
2nd Unit Director of Photography
David Williamson
Camera Operator
Billy Hammond
Visual Effects/CGI
Animal Logic Film
Chris Godfrey
Zareh Nalbandian
Fiona Crawford
Robin Cave
Maryanne Lauric
Ben Gunsberger
Charlie Armstrong
Naomi Hatchman
Kirsty Miller
Aaron Barkley
Rain Effects
Lindsay Gault
Graphics Designer
Karen Harborow
Art Director
Diaan Wajon
Deborah Riley
Storyboard Artist
Tam Morris
Costume Designers
Paul Warren
Ariane Weiss
Noriko Watanabe
Noreen Wilkie
Titles Designer
Angela Pelizzari
Titles Design/Production
Animal Logic Film
Technical/End Credits
Optical & Graphic
Film Opticals Effects
DFilm Services
Ken Phelan
Ellen Roelvink
Percussion/Hand Drums:
Charlie Chan
Drums/Exotic Percussion/Toys:
David Jones
Acoustic/Electric Bass:
Adam Armstrong
Tenor/Soprano Saxophone:
Sandy Evans
Trumpet/Flugel Horn:
Phil Slater
Glenn Muirhead
Peter Northcote
Exotic Women's Voices:
Despina Haratzis
Backing Vocals:
Maggie McKinney
Music Co-ordinator
Vicki Watson
Music Producer
Charlie Chan
Brenda Lee
Music Consultant
Christine Woodruff
"Me Myself I" - Joan Armatrading; "Ça plane pour moi" - Plastic Bertrand; Mozart's "Violin Concerto No 5 K.219 in A Major" - Vadim Repin; "Cheek to Cheek" - Peggy Lee; "Ashes" - The Superjesus; "You Sexy Thing" - T-Shirt; "! (The Song Formerly Known As)" - Regurgitator; "Me Myself I" - Marie Wilson; "What I Like about You" - Marie Wilson; "All by Myself" - Maggie McKinney; "Toot Toot Chugga Chugga Big Red Car" - The Wiggles; "All My Friends Are Getting Married" - Skyhooks; "Breakfast Radio", "Afriental" - Charlie Chan; "So Beautiful" - Simply Red; "Black Bugs" - Regurgitator; Gragnani's "Sonata Opus 8 No 1 (Allegretto)" - Alexander Markov, Eduardo Fernandez
John O'Connell
Sound Supervisor
Livia Ruzic
Sound Recordist
Guntis Sics
Sound Mixer
Phil Judd
Dialogue Editor
Livia Ruzic
Sound Effects Editors
Antony Gray
Craig Carter
ADR Recordist
Rick Lisle
Spectrum Films (Sydney)
Gerry Long
Scott Heming
Soundfirm (Sydney)
Animal Trainer/Handler
Luke Hura
Film Extracts
Huevos de oro (1993)
Rachel Griffiths
Pamela Drury
David Roberts
Robert Dickson
Sandy Winton
Yael Stone
Shaun Loseby
Trent Sullivan
Rebecca Frith
Felix Williamson
Ann Burbrook
Maeliosa Stafford
Terence Crawford
Christine Stephen-Daly
Kirstie Hutton
Donal Forde
young Christian
Frank Whitten
Mariel McClorey
Maurice Morgan
Adam Ray
restaurant photographer
Lucinda Armour
pregnant woman
Lynne McGimpsey
security guard
Peter Brailey
Andrew Caryofyllis
Anthony Issa
passing student
Lenore Munro
Phaedra Nicolaidis
Billie Prichard
self defence girls
Mishka Martin
Jennifer Kontominas
Marteen Stroh
Natalie Gilroy
Nubia Santos
Jessica Orcsik
Melanie Alaura
Claire Langmore
Stephanie Doherty
credit girls
Brandy the dog
Lyndon Wilkinson
voice of Pamela's mother
Buena Vista International (UK)
9,381 feet
104 minutes 14 seconds
Dolby Digital
In Colour
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011