Italian film “Me, Myself and Her” is a controversial must-see

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Spoiler alert (yes, already): this movie contains cheating with a penis. If you have a rule about not watching such films, I respect that. BUT, I still think you’ll like it if you give it a chance. Maybe start with this review?

Italian women in their 50s in love. With each other. In Italian. Come on, you know you’re tempted. Coincidentally, temptation is a big theme in this film. That’s Maria Sole Tognazzi’s Me, Myself and Her (Io e Lei) for you. 

me myself and her poster

Obviously, this movie is not without its drama, but it delivers on the funny as well and is pretty light in tone overall. The same goes for the couple at the center of the film, Federica (Margherita Buy) and Marina (Sabrina Ferilli).

Federica and Marina have been together for five years and have built themselves a really nice life, as you’ll immediately be able to tell by looking at their home. It’s really no surprise because they’re both successful and ambitious women. Federica is an architect, whereas Marina is a former actress-turned-restaurateur.

Marina is super secure in her sexuality. In fact, if you pay close attention, you’ll notice she’s got a tattoo of two female sex symbols interlocking on her hand. She spent way too much time covering up the truth about herself as an actress to stay in the closet now.

By contrast, Federica is a lot more reserved. She’s not out at work, though to be fair, she works in a much more conservative environment than Marina. Still, she has other hang-ups as well. Having been married and given birth to a son, she worries that her son’s distant attitude may have something to do with her being with a woman. And while you see Federica attend Marina’s family events, Marina never gets invited to Federica’s.

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These two women may seem like an unlikely couple (as others in the movie comment), but they actually have great chemistry. And you know what? They’re often just as boring as the rest of us, cuddling up to watch their favorite show. They even have a cat! It might have all become too domestic for Federica, who starts seeing problems where they don’t exist.

For instance, instead of being happy for Marina when she gets offered a small role in a film, all she can think about is the renewed press around her girlfriend and what that means in terms of outing her. Even if the press did go digging around or Marina slipped, the truth remains that Federica is very respected in her field and dating an adored actress wouldn’t change that. But she just can’t see that.

None of that, however, compares to what she does when she bumps into an old flame of hers. Marco and Federica never really got to live out their love story, but if you ask me, now isn’t the time! But Federica is visibly restless, and when she gives in, it’s not exactly surprising.

That’s a pretty big plot point to be casually dropping in a review, but it colors so much of what comes after (and there’s a lot) that it has to be mentioned. Federica cheats more than once, and that says something about her character. It also says something about Marina that when she finds out, she doesn’t play the victim. In a powerhouse move, she instead confronts both Federica and Marco.

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This all culminates in a discussion we rarely see on film. Marina is disgusted that Federica cheated especially because it was with a man. But Federica reminds her that she never said she was gay. It was Marina and others that put that label on her. Marina is the first and only woman she’s ever been with. That’s not an excuse, and this isn’t me defending Federica. But this is me saying bi-erasure matters, and it certainly hurt Federica.

This scene also needed to happen to humanize Marina. She is undoubtedly the most sympathetic character in the film. She’s out, she involves her girlfriend as much as she feels comfortable with and she doesn’t cheat (although Tognazzi made the clever decision to set up another potential love interest for her, because who wouldn’t be enticed by Sabrina Ferilli?!). You can add a bunch of other achievements and amazing personality traits to that list, so it’s actually a bit of a relief to know she’s not perfect.

By the way, I couldn’t defend Federica even if I wanted to: she’s cold as ice about her actions. It’s not that she doesn’t know what she did was wrong or that she doesn’t feel bad about hurting Marina–she’s just feeling too trapped to really see what her actions mean for the future of their relationship and her own happiness.

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If it ended here, I wouldn’t ask you to waste your time with this film. Fortunately, it doesn’t. These two women are fighters, and they love each other. They’re going to fight for their relationship. Even if to mixed results.

Me, Myself and Her plays at the MiFo LGBT Film Festival in Miami Beach on April 29. For updates on future screenings, visit the movie’s Facebook page.

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