Movie Review: After “6 Years,” Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

The music in “6 Years” is so bad that it made me realize that teenagers and young adults  like whatever music is popular during their high school and college years.  To dislike the popular music of one’s youth is to risk being a social outcast, just as being part of the music scene boosts one into the stratosphere of cool.  Plot wise, “6 Years” is about a high school couple breaking up toward the end of college, but the underlying theme is the split between a guy, who is a year older than his girlfriend, becoming too cool  for her as he graduates from internship to being an offered a real job in an indie record company.  As Dan, Ben Rosenfield is looking even more like Jeff Buckley than he did three years ago when he played Jeff Buckley in the insufferable biopic, “Greetings from Jeff Buckley.”  There is something sickening about guys who think they are cute, and Rosenfield certainly suffers from this affliction, but it may be to the benefit of his performance, because this Dan is a pretty sickening guy.  His girlfriend Melanie is medium sweet, but with a hot temper and a tendency towards approaching an asthma attack every time she gets upset even though she neither has asthma nor carries an inhaler for her breathless moments of impending anxiety.  Perhaps it would have been a better choice for her to get nosebleeds at these junctures, as the inside of actress Taissa Farmiga’s nostrils are always red and swollen.  And what kind of name is Taissa anyway?  Apparently it is a variant of the Russian name Taisiya, although some North Americans assume it is of African origin.  This particular Taissa is from New Jersey, the daughter of Ukrainian immigrants.

Despite her silly name, Miss Farmiga does a fairly good job playing the girl destined to be left behind as her high school boyfriend outgrows her. Writer-director Hannah Fidell made a smart decision to cast younger kids as Melanie’s friends.  It helps to emphasize the social gap that has developed between these two sweethearts who are only one year apart in age.  Fidell has also cast older people in the roles of the record company employees, emphasizing the more sophisticated world Ben into which Ben is entering.   The main problem with the movie is the over-predictability of the script.  Its main asset is that, despite the triteness of the script, Fidell and her cast manage to dig deep into the truths of its situations.  “6 Years” is particularly astute in depicting the push and pull dynamic of two people who know they have to break up, but have loved each other too much to admit it.

The film-making, however, is pretty poor.  The camera operators need to take a step back from the action and get out of the actor’s faces.  Even though the performers here are more attractive than in most movies of this ilk (read: Greta, Gerwig, Andrew Bujalski), we still do not need to see the red veins inside their nostrils. Also, these young movie makers should learn to edit  properly and not lean on Godard’s youthful mistakes to justify their own.   What Fidell has going for her is a passion to define her generation on film.  Unlike so many previous decades, the current crop of young adults have not been put into a box by the media.  They are neither flappers nor flippers,  beatniks nor sickniks, hippies nor yippies,  generation X’ers nor Y’ers, Reagan Youth nor Obamaniacs.   They are the invisible generation, and it is down to them to tell the world who they are.

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