It’s not always easy to pull off high concept romantic dramas, or to futz with the format of what could be a straightforward boy-meets-girl breakup/makeup story, but in staying grounded, and real, “Comet,” directed by Sam Esmail and starring Justin Long and Emmy Rossum, manages to do just that.
“Comet” follows the lives of two lovers through the six years of their relationship. It is told in a unique style, that leaves you wondering and bewildered at the beginning of the movie and emotionally devastated in the end. From the very beginning of the movie, the filmmaker warns us that we are about to watch the one story but told over several different realities.
In a way, Comet is about time travel. It doesn’t feature time machines or sci-fi technology, but its jumpy narrative whisks the audience throughout various points in a couple’s six year relationship, snapping from an intoxicating high to a heartbreaking low in the blink of an eye.
At last, a hipster visual anthem designed for something bigger than an iPad screen. “Comet” is about two completely jaded and self-absorbed 20-somethings who see the world as one giant cliché to be sneered at—until they find each other. What’s most interesting about writer-director Sam Esmail’s approach isn’t his alternately grating and endearing lovebirds (Justin Long and Emmy Rossum), but his decision to shoot it all as if it were in the cosmic company of “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Persona” and (more its speed) “”Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.” Esmail’s stylistic confidence is reminiscent of an earlier generation’s boy wonders, Andersons Wes and P.T., but he’s got his own visual ideas cooking.
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.
LOS ANGELES FILM FESTIVAL: Much like the comets and shooting stars that Del and Kimberly are waiting to see, Comet is a film you have to wait for to fully get. Not that waiting is a bad thing mind you. In fact it’s the anticipation of what might be said next or revealed visually that keeps this wonderful film humming along.
A star-crossed romance that often feels cosmic and intimate within the span of a single scene, “Comet” rhymes images from five different eras of a relationship that begins during a meteor shower and may or may not end more than half a decade later.
Imagine you’re watching your relationship on TV. It is playing on five channels, with each channel airing a different stage of the relationship. When things get too uncomfortable, awkward or emotional, you just flip the channel. On that next channel, you’d continue to watch your relationship unfold, maybe from a point a few years later.
“Sam Esmail’s ‘storytelling technique reflects the perspective of an enlightened and astute new addition to the film scene.’”
“Their relationship and personalities are revealed through each major juncture with a magical realism quality framing all of it, à la PT Anderson or Michel Gondry.
“They’re such a perfect match onscreen, in both physical presence and acting style.”