me little me
SXSW Film Festival Storytelling Section
Reviewed for Shockya.com by Abe Friedtanzer
Director: Elizabeth Ayiku
Screenwriter: Elisabeth Ayiku
With: A’Keyah Dasia Williams, Shamar Philippe, Tamir Elbassir, Niki J. Crawford, Frania Dueñas, Mariel Flores, Kristian Flores, Clark Moore, ReSheda Terry, Marti Maley
Presented at: SXSW Film Festival Online, LA, 03/16/22
Opening: March 12and2022
No one really knows what other people are going through, but that doesn’t stop people from making assumptions and acting belligerently on the basis of it. There are few areas where this happens more than with food. Those who have no problem with what they eat and don’t need to track the amount or control when or what they eat tend to push this nonchalance onto others who are struggling, which can be both invasive and destructive. me little me spotlights a character with an eating disorder whose efforts to recover from it impact every aspect of his life.
Mya (A’Keyah Dasia Williams) works at a car rental company where her numbers are known to be very positive, earning her a potential promotion. This means that she has to do even more and that the superiors follow her closely. While doing the extra work to show her commitment, Mya has her diet vigilantly monitored as part of a recovery program designed to set her up for success. As the pressure mounts at work and she contemplates reconnecting with family members she has kept distanced from, Mya finds all the elements of her life colliding uncontrollably.
This movie is notable in its depiction of eating disorders in that it almost doesn’t purposely explain how Mya’s specific program works. Rather than showing typical Anonymous Overeaters or similar reunions that other movies and TV shows have done, me little me includes scenes of Mya and her peers walking around giving numbers of how they’re doing with food. There are parts that feel legitimately destructive and painful, but without the context to understand the overall program, the judging feels irresponsible, and instead the audience just has to believe it’s probably the healthiest option for Mya at this point in her life.
The most resounding scenes are those in which panic sets in, when Mya tries desperately to stick to what she knows will keep her poised, having a snack before a delayed meal to keep her hunger from taking over. her so that she is able to control all the cravings. Those who don’t know what she’s been through are understandably naive, but it goes beyond that, with a supervisor harshly scolding her for her lack of professionalism and repeatedly urging her in front of a customer to order alcohol afterward. she said no.
This depiction of a type of micro-aggression is further compounded by the fact that Mya is a black woman living in America, working to impress a white supervisor whose qualities aren’t as despicable as they might make them, but which include still a lot of privilege and chauvinism. Mya is more than the sum of her roles and Williams, in her first film role, greatly impresses. In subtle moments like when Mya steps in to do a job that someone else could easily have done but didn’t want or think about it, she conveys a lifetime of not being fully seen or appreciated for the skills it can offer.
Although there isn’t much humor in this film, it does include characters whose primary motivations are to support Mya. They may not always work admirably and are error-prone, but their presence matters because the journey Mya is on might otherwise be far too isolating. The loneliness and uniqueness she feels are crucial to its story, and writer-director Elizabeth Ayiku, in her feature debut, brings Mya to life in a film that’s most memorable about things we don’t know and simple ways to meet unexpressed needs.
History – B+
Interim – B+
Technical – B+
Overall – B+