In Lost Movie Reviews From the Autostraddle Archives we revisit past lesbian, bisexual, and queer classics that we hadn’t reviewed before, but you shouldn’t miss.
Is Imagine Me & You a good movie? I’ve seen it no less than twenty times, and I still don’t know. It’s funny. The performances are charming. It’s a fun — if somewhat poorly paced — queer romcom. And the kissing! The kissing is very good. I like the movie very much, but I don’t think it’s necessarily Good, and I don’t even think it’s a movie that’s So Bad It’s Good. It’s just sort of a fine movie but one I watch over and over again, because it was one of the first lesbian romcoms I ever saw, and you never forget your first.
In case you haven’t seen the movie: Piper Perabo plays a woman named Rachel who marries her boyfriend Heck (Matthew Goode) but spends much of the wedding making eyes at the florist Luce, played by Lena Headey. A while after the wedding, Rachel invites Luce to dinner with the intention of setting her up with Heck’s dickish friend Coop. At dinner, Luce reveals that she is a lesbian and also that she believes in love at first sight. Rachel doesn’t. She thinks it takes time and care to find your true love. And I’m sure you can see where this one is going!
If you’ve ever heard a dyke randomly shout “you’re a wanker, number nine!” while drunk at a bar, well, they were referencing this film. But my personal favorite line will forever be: “Am I gay? I’m ecstatic!”
I have several questions about Imagine Me & You: Is it normal for a florist to attend the wedding when they’re just a vendor and don’t actually know anyone in the wedding party? How does Lena Headey make low-rise jeans and a pink tie-dye scoopneck look sexy? Why does the character Coop exist at all? Are all florists lesbians (more on that later)? Luce’s lower back tattoo????????????
Rachel spends much of the movie longing for Luce but unable to bring herself to leave Heck. Some classic cinematic Sapphic yearning. The desire is palpably felt. The first time Rachel goes to kiss Luce, she stops herself. The second time, she leaves. But then she comes back. Imagine Me & You knows how to tease, how to dangle exactly what we want, exactly what Rachel wants, right there in front of us.
And thankfully, it isn’t all a tease. Even though there are plenty of obstacles along the way, once Rachel decides to take the plunge with Luce, Imagine Me & You lets these characters have what they want. The emotional climax is equal parts funny, sentimental, and specific to them. It’s honestly one of the best and most memorable romcom endings ever, and you should absolutely TURN IT OFF AFTER THIS MOMENT. Because the movie’s epilogue is its worst part, rooted in the assumption that anyone cares about Heck in all of this.
That said, I do think the movie does a compelling job of examining the emotional complications of Rachel falling in love while she’s married. Much of her internal struggle doesn’t stem from internalized homophobia or a fear of being a woman but rather of hurting someone she really cares about and has known for a very long time. Heck feels betrayed, and that’s valid. But I still prefer to pretend the credits montage doesn’t exist.
I still have a hard time figuring out exactly where Imagine Me & You fits in lesbian film canon. I think Drew hit the nail on the head when she wrote: “Out of all the lesbian romcoms, this might be the one that most successfully takes your standard hetero romcom and queers it.” Imagine Me & You has dimensional side characters, genuinely good laughs, and some lovely sequences. But it’s by-the-numbers in its plotting and bare-bones in its depiction of love. This movie is obsessed with the idea of love at first sight, but I’m not sure it makes me actually believe in it.
But I do also love the satisfying feeling of watching a predictable and charming romcom, and this hits all those right notes while also being VERY GAY. It’s the kind of movie you can pop on during a rainy day with some scented candles and just sort of sink into.
There’s one thing I do know for certain about Imagine Me & You’s legacy: Arranging flowers is gay. Clarissa Dalloway in The Hours buys the flowers herself. The Haunting Of Bly Manor ends with its two queer characters buying and running a flower shop together. And Imagine Me & You is peak Dyke Floral Arrangement — a subculture I just made up right now but one I absolutely subscribe to. Rachel and Luce’s kiss in the floral shop, the one that almost doesn’t happen, is fantastically blocked, acted, shot. And the fact that they’re surrounded by flowers as it’s happening makes it all the more lovely. It did, however, give me unrealistic expectations of being seduced by a florist as a baby gay.
Did I write this whole review just an excuse to post the autumnal floral arrangements I spent over an hour putting together last week? MAYBE SO.
You can watch Imagine Me & You for $3.99 on Amazon.
Want more movies? Check out Autostraddle’s 200 Best Lesbian Movies of All Time.
The answer is “yes, it’s perfect.” Also, it allows us all to be pre-GoT Lena Headey hipsters.
I love mediocre gay movies. I wish we had as many of them as we do of mediocre straight movies.
IM&Y is my favourite queer movie of all time specifically because it is the one that most closely follows hetero romcom tropes and then queers them. I love hetero romcoms – Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan and everything in between – and all I’ve ever wanted is a queer version of those films, and THIS IS IT.
That being said, I once got in a HUGE and ongoing debate with an ex when I told her this was my favourite queer movie which resulted in a relationship-long debate about the existence of love at first sight. I believed in it (because I experienced it when I met her) and she did not. She ended up breaking my heart, go figure. So maybe she was right, who knows.
I watched this roundly dreadful Richard-Curtis-knock-off ‘film’ recently and (contrary to my expectations) found Matthew Goode’s character, the unfortunately named ‘Heck’, by far the most appealing part of it. He had more charisma and personality than everyone else put together, possibly because Matthew Goode is just better at acting than the rest of the primary cast, who are (it turns out) really pretty bad at it?
I, a lesbian, felt nothing whatsoever about the lesbians, who seemed to have nothing in common except a fondness for mid-wash bootcut jeans and neutral-toned knitwear. But when Matthew Goode realised the best thing he could do for [Whatever His Wife’s Name Was] was to let her go, even though he was breaking his own heart in the process, I… well, I didn’t shed a tear, obviously, because even the best part of this movie is still not very good, but! I’m not afraid to say I felt something.
I wish Heck all the best with his new airplane girlfriend. I hope whichever of the lesbians got the flower shop, in the inevitable breakdown of their civil partnership after they realise they’ve run out of things to say to each other two years in, kept the business going okay through the 2008 financial crash. But they all clearly come from enormous pots of family money so I’m sure they’re doing fine.
Lol why are you so angry at this romcom
I logged in for the first time in years to say thank you for this. Maybe there is a whole community out there secretely hating/not caring about this movie that everyone seem to love.
Oh my gosh I loved imagine me and you! It was my background/ comfort movie in high school, and I played it so much that for a period of time I knew the movie line for line. I think I loved it so much b/c it was the only queer romcom I had seen, and because I had a massive crush on piper profano left over from my obsession with the show covert affairs
This is one I need to rewatch! I liked it, but didn’t love it, just because I tend to prefer romantic comedies where the conflict doesn’t revolve around leaving a relationship for someone else that you have sort of been cheating with. But it is funny and an actual romcom and as a singer I appreciated diaphragm breathing becoming a flirting method!
I love this movie so much. So much classic rom com park bench sitting. Lena Headey is so hot in it.
The park bench sitting!
I really love(d) this film, although it problematically kind of made me believe in love at first sight even though I really don’t.
Lena Headey is hot, flowers are beautiful and number 9 is a wanker.
The thing that most annoys me about this film is that Luce continues to tolerate Coop hitting on her.
Ol Parker also directed Mama Mia! Here We Go Again — if that sweetens the deal for anyone.
this movie! in the dvd commentary ol parker says that he originally wrote it for/about his wife, thandie newton, who he fell in love with at first sight when she walked into some production meeting (i mean! it feels easy to fall in love at first sight with an attractive actor! but i digress!), and that it was originally a straight movie, but he couldn’t get it to work as such — that there would’ve been too much bad blood with Heck, that it would’ve been a sadder, meaner movie. which really aligns with what drew says about it — it’s very much a straight romcom that happens to be between women! but that’s why heck is so focused on, I think.
i mean, it was such an incredibly important movie to me when it came out! and i will always love luce and rachel with my whole entire being! but listening to the director’s DVD commentary was wildly illuminating.
(oh and thandie was pregnant when they went to actually make the film and unable to star, so they recast.)
I mean, who DIDN’T fall in love with Thandie Newton at first sight?
I LOVE this movie and have also rewatched it multiple times, mainly because of my sentimental attachment to the fact that it was my very first lesbian romcom or rather the first one that wasn’t sh*t. When I was coming out and trying to get into “gay culture” I looked for films – this was the early 2010’s so it wasn’t so easy to just stream whatever – and I remember first watching this really horrid and poorly filmed movie where a butch lesbian seduces a woman in a hetero marriage and DIES at the end (!!!!) and then I watched Imagine Me&You and I watched the kissing scenes over and over and over again and I was like… Ok I can be gay it’s fine my life will be fine!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will forever be grateful to this movie for giving me the push of optimism I so desperately needed at the time.
My wife and I got into a conversation after seeing this fun film many years ago about why pick? Just have both, and since then we’ve been able to do that in our lives as well.
This movie was such a breath of fresh air in 2005 for being more focused on the leading ladies getting together and not on a protagonist’s gay panic.
That being said, when I last watched it in 2019, it’s hetero elements really seemed to be aggressively hitting me in the face.
I will always adore this movie for being one of the first not-just-a-coming-out-story films with a decent budget and a lovely cast.
I’m glad you mentioned The Haunting of Bly Manor because I just finished watching it last night and the first thing I thought of when it got to the flower shop scene was this movie. I was really hoping they would make out a lot and then accidentally sit on some thorns, but oh well! We can’t have everything, I guess.
Those autumnal floral arrangements are very beautiful…
I have always loved this movie and I will never stop loving it! Never!!! I agree though that Coop is bad and the last shot being of Heck is also bad. But it’s so sweet and warm and lovely and Lena Headey and Piper Perabo have incredible chemistry. That scene where Luce and Rachel are sitting together in the room with all the stars makes me giddy every time I watch it.
Why does Coop exist? So Celie Imrie can diss, “Coop: he’d shag an open wound!” [Speaking of lines that *I* use! ;-) ]
I rewatched IMAY recently because Victoria Pedretti as Dani in Bly Manor reminded me a bit of Piper Perabo. I’ve seen it many times but not for some years and was a bit anxious it would feel dated and I wouldn’t love it as much as I did. But I still do, maybe even more?! It‘s not perfect by any means but Piper Perabo and Lena Heady have great great chemistry, the first 15-20 minutes to me are flawlessy paced, there are some lovely small, quiet moments, I love the relationship between Luce and her mother, don’t mind Cooper and genuinely like Heck. Also Edie! And (a polished version) of London.
Truthfully, Edie and “I’m ecstatic” is truly a forever standout moment of this film