In a film reminiscent of Jane Campion's SWEETIE, Patricia Wettig portrays an incorrigible rebel who disrupts the life of her more stable sister. As in SWEETIE, the central characters in ME AND VERONICA are too unpleasant, and their motivations too vague, to generate much sympathy.
Veronica (Wettig) returns to her hometown of Highlands, New Jersey, to see her younger sister, an aspiring painter named Fanny (Elizabeth McGovern). The two have been estranged since Fanny found Veronica in bed with Fanny's now ex-husband, Jimmy. In the five years since the sisters last spoke,
Veronica has gotten married and divorced, been pregnant three times, become addicted to pills, and been convicted of welfare fraud. She had a miscarriage during one pregnancy but has two small children who are staying with her boyfriend, Michael (Michael O'Keefe), elsewhere in New Jersey.
After sharing booze and confidences for two days, Veronica leaves Fanny to start serving her sentence for welfare fraud on Rikers Island. Fanny tells her she'll take care of the children while Veronica is in jail. Posing as a social worker, she retrieves the kids from Michael's home. He later
shows up at Fanny's house and tries to seduce her. She also is pursued by the bartender Frankie (John Heard), who works in the bar where Fanny is a waitress, and by a local oddball known as Boner (Scott Renderer).
Fanny regularly visits Veronica in prison, sneaking her the pills she begs for. On the day of Veronica's release, the sisters return to Highlands by ferry. En route, a distraught Veronica decides to fulfill her longtime dream of doing a perfect swan dive. She jumps overboard, committing suicide.
Fanny returns to the children in Highlands, and launches a career as a designer of painted bed linens.
The title characters of ME AND VERONICA have encountered one misfortune after another, but it's difficult to tell what effect their traumatic lives have had. None of the subplots, supporting characters or flashbacks seems to form a coherent basis for either Veronica's or Fanny's personality.
Veronica's infidelity with Jimmy is sometimes a bone of contention, sometimes a casual bond between the sisters; Fanny ultimately concludes that he lost out on a great "catch" when he cheated on her, and all Veronica has to say is that Jimmy was a jerk. Similarly, their troubled parents are
mentioned only casually, even though Veronica inherited her father's alcoholism and mother's mental illness. The supporting characters even more poorly developed. Veronica's children, for example, are instantly content with Fanny, and never show the emotions that you'd expect from abandoned
preschoolers. Michael's motivations for following Fanny after she takes away the children are nebulous; he doesn't do it because he's enamored of Fanny--he admits he doesn't like her that much, even as he's trying to persuade her to have sex with him--but he keeps hanging around. There's little
reason to care about any of the people in ME AND VERONICA because no one has a well-defined personality.
The one scene of ME AND VERONICA where someone actually expresses emotion is awkward and unmoving. After Veronica's death, Fanny vents her anger while standing on a cliff in a rainstorm. "Fuck you!" she shouts to the sea--20 times in less than a minute! Even veteran viewers of Martin Scorsese
and Spike Lee films may be discomforted by this barrage of profanity, which is all for naught since the scene fails as a catharsis. Typical of the goings-on in ME AND VERONICA, the scene is all noise and no substance. (Sexual situations, substance abuse, extreme profanity.)
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- Released: 1993
- Rating: R
- Review: In a film reminiscent of Jane Campion's SWEETIE, Patricia Wettig portrays an incorrigible rebel who disrupts the life of her more stable sister. As in SWEETIE, the central characters in ME AND VERONICA are too unpleasant, and their motivations too vague, t… (more)