Casting and filming began in May 2007, and it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008. The film was released in the United States on January 31, 2012. Despite the film not being released to mainstream film critics, You and I received mixed reviews from film critics.
The film is about Janie Sawyer, an American teenager who is forced to live in Moscow because of her father's job. Janie is trying to escape her lonely life in Moscow through her deep love of music and the internet. Janie and Lana Starkova meet on a fansite for the pop-band t.A.T.u. Trapped in a small Russian town, Lana wants desperately nothing more than to flee her mundane life causing the two girls to develop an instant connection through their love of t.A.T.u.'s music. The two girls adapt one of Lana's poems into a song and post it on the internet. t.A.T.u.'s manager hears the song being played by a corrupt music producer and he loves it. He later contacts the girls, instead of the producer, hoping they will allow t.A.T.u. to record the song without the producer. Janie and Lana's relationship then becomes the catalyst for a series of adventures through both the rock bottom and highlights of Moscow's society.
The film was first announced in October 2006 by Yulia Volkova during a press conference in Paris, who said at the time: "The script has already been written and now some questions on shooting are being considered." Aleksey Mitrofanov, the author of the novel on which the film is based, is playing a large part in the production of the film, as are t.A.T.u. The group will not be playing Janie and Lana in the film, but will play themselves. Prior to its release, Lena Katina and Julia Volkova (t.A.T.u.) stated that they believed You and I to be "scandalous". The girls continued on to say that the film did not deal with the "love and roses" (over-sentimentality, "cheesiness") often found in romantic dramas, and instead, it focused on the real scandal and hardships that come along with relationships.
Mitrofanov has mentioned that in selecting a director, they looked for one who knew the international market well, as they planned to release the film internationally. They turned to American production companies, and an English director, Roland Joffé, was chosen because of his Oscar-winning credentials. It was filmed in Moscow (stage nine of the Mosfilm building), Yaroslavl, and in Los Angeles, California; the story is based in Russia, mainly Moscow.
Filming was scheduled to end on 14 August 2007 and editing began soon after. Mischa Barton was a no-show at the Cannes premiere of the film and didn't show up for promotion in London. The director, award-winning Roland Joffé, shockingly, told BBC Radio 1 host Natalie Jamieson: "She hasn't pulled out of interviews, she's pulled out of everything... Her room is here, she is here, but trying to get the two together has just been impossible. We just don't know where Mischa is."
In a June 2009 interview with the Mail on Sunday, Barton dispelled previous claims that she was dissatisfied with the project. She remarked, "I did a film about t.A.T.u., the Russian girl band, and that was interesting. This whole corrupt Russian music industry formed this fake-lesbian band. It's an odd story, but a fascinating one."
You And I has been pushed-back severely, but was eventually announced for releases. The film premiered at the 61st Cannes Film Festival in May 2008. On 25 January 2011 You And I premiered in Moscow, Russia. Mischa Barton, the lead actress of the film, decided to show up alongside t.A.T.u. to promote the film. The other lead, Shantel VanSanten, was reported to have been too busy to make an appearance at the premiere. On 16 October 2007, the official t.A.T.u. blog released a preview featuring clips from the film.
On 31 January 2012, You and I was released direct-to-dvd in the United States. Then in June 2012, You and I was released on DVD in Australia and New Zealand. According to the MPAA, they had rated the film R, due to drug use, a disturbing image, sexual content and pervasive language. The Office of Film and Literature Classification NZ had rated the film R13 while Office of Film and Literature Classification had rated the film MA15, due to the same reasons.
You and I was not screened for most mainstream film critics, however overall, You and I received mixed reviews from most film critics. It currently has no approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on one review. Josh Bell from Filmcritic.com gave it a mixed review, as he said "Already a somewhat fascinating (if also tiresome) time capsule of forgotten pop culture less than five years after it finished production." DvdVerdict gave it a mixed review, as he felt "You and I may flirt with some saucy, scandalous issues, but it ends up being as provocative as a revue at a retirement home. One imagines the elderly being more entertaining, however" and concluded saying "Guilty. Pop culture claptrap disguised as dramatic relevance."
World-L.com gave it a more detailed, yet mixed review. He praised the actors, describing them as "good". However, he felt the storyline and production was unusual, as he said "In itself, the movie is not bad and lay, no, it's more complicated." He praised Barton and VanSanten, whom he described as "very good", but described the screenplay: "what is present in their memories but rather the very rough draft screenplay that talks about everything and nothing is wrong and the bottom of things."
Currently, no box office announcement has been confirmed. The budget of the film is an estimate of $20 million, according to IMDb.Mischa Barton – Lana Starkova
Anton Yelchin – Edvard Nikitin
Charlie Creed-Miles – Ian
Helena Mattsson – Kira
Alexander Kaluzhsky – Dima
Bronson Pinchot – Torrino
Shantel VanSanten – Janie Sawyer
Lena Katina - Herself
Julia Volkova - Herself