In one of my all-time favorite rom-coms, ‘Moonstruck’, Nicolas Cage’s character said that love doesn’t make things nice, love ruins everything, it breaks your heart, it makes things a mess. And at the end of ‘(500) Days Of Summer’, Zooey Deschanel revealed what she was not sure of when she was with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Combine the two and add astronomical and sci-fi metaphors, and you have a chaotic sweet movie called COMET.
I didn’t get the chance to talk with writer/director Sam Esmail but his directorial effort with COMET impresses me. And if I do get the chance with him, I’d ask him if he always meant of the script to capture the on and off and on again relationships that happen more than often with couples out there.
In COMET, that Mac dude, Justin Long meets that ‘Shameless’ girl, Emmy Rossum at a cemetery at an even of astronomical proportions, literally. She saves him from what otherwise could been a tragic accident. And the story spans over six years of their rocky relationship in a parallel universe with two stars and two moons and the comet spectacle seems twice more majestic than ours. The story goes with the two of them meeting again at different stages of their relationships, all the while we the audience are taken on this mysterious ride of not only figuring out whether they’re breaking up or making up but also the question of what’s real and what’s just a memory and is Sam Esmail going to pull some kind of ’The Sixth Sense’-type twist just to make a turn for the tear jerker. And Esmail incorporates all kinds of visuals and imagery that excite your senses. COMET is an evidence of a filmmaker who knows what he’s doing.
There’ll be times when Justin’s and Emmy’s characters would engage in what seem to be endless arguments, every five minute or so, any one of them would ask the other if they could talk and talk they did, and when those moments happen, they can drag a bit, but Esmail always pulls them out at the right moment and injects that sense of urgency or mystery again, jumping from one scene to another to keep us guessing and intrigued.
Justin and Emmy gave great performances of this couple who love and care for each other but their personalities keep them from seeing that love blossom into something more. The chemistry between the geeky Justin and the beautiful Emmy is perfect.
Justin’s character for one, for some reason feels that he’s always not on the same level as Emmy, he then finds safety and security in not believing in love, whereas Emmy’s character is willing to give each stage and each of Justin’s effort to win her back, another chance, but she knows that they’ll hurt more than they love.
Could it be that in some other parallel universe, we do end up with the one we want to be with for the rest of our lives, that maybe it’s just not meant to be in this universe? Perhaps, one thing for sure is that writer/director Sam Esmail’s artistry in conveying that to us is spot-on.