Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Five-Year Engagement

Tonight I saw The Five-Year Engagement, starring Jason Segel and Emily Blunt.

Tom (Segel) and Violet (Blunt) seem to be the perfect couple: they make each other laugh, have undeniable chemistry, and make good use of a strong physical attraction. After just a year of dating, they become engaged and joyfully announce their upcoming nuptials.

Then Violet doesn't get accepted to the graduate program at Berkeley but does get accepted to a program in Michigan, so their plans change. They postpone the wedding and leave San Francisco so she can live her dream. Tom, as a result, has to leave his chef job at a big city restaurant and take a position as a sandwich maker in their new town.

Tom becomes miserable, Violet becomes consumed with her academia, and the years drag on without a wedding. This is pretty much the entire movie.

The two core characters are very realistic and well-written; the supporting characters (a token 'crazy' friend for Tom; an irresponsible sister for Violet) not so much.

What's enjoyable to watch are the scenes that truly mirror life: during one spat Tom says he wants to be alone yet when Violet starts to leave the room he tells her to come back to bed; parents of each manage to tell them they're idiots to put off the wedding; some of the most fun each of them has is at work with their respective peer groups.

While Segel and Blunt make a lovely couple, their struggles do remind us hopeless romantics that life will just never be that good. Partners, no matter how kind, will eventually disappoint us, and perhaps instead of looking for perfection we should realize that if we have anyone in our corner for any length of time that in itself is somewhat of an emotional victory.

After several uneven, silly sequences (don't get me started on the hunting bow), the movie does thankfully end in a satisfying, sweet way.

Kind of like a redemption usually reserved for an ex that wasn't so bad after all.


No comments: