Netflix recommendation: 6 Years
Written and directed by: Hannah Fidell
Mark and Jay Duplass are taking over the indie film world by co-producing one honest, improvised, naturalistic film after another. This time around, they bring us Hannah Fidell (“A Teacher”) film “6 Years”. Like most films the brotherly production duo peg, “6 Years” stars an extremely talented cast of slightly lesser known (at least outside of the indie circuit) actors, playing emotionally demanding roles, with a loosely structured script.
Dan (Rosenfield) and Melanie (Farmiga) grew up next door to each other, fell in love with each other and, as most high school sweethearts who believe they will be together forever do, are drifting apart from each other. Melanie still has another year left in school, Dan is finishing up a promising internship at a record label company. Melanie has a difficult time functioning without Dan by her side, Dan craves space and the attention of an alluring co-worker (Lindsay Burdge who also played the seductive lead in Fidell’s 2012 film “A Teacher”). They argue, sometimes violently, about anything and everything and later sweetly make up with one another, even though permanent scars are left from the harsh things that were said and done.
One by one, the stresses and distractions of transitioning into adult life strain the relationship between the two. The final straw snaps when Dan receives a job offer at the record label. Amanda (Burdge) and Dan’s mother push him to take it and not look back. The only catch is the job is in Brooklyn, NY and far away from Dan and Melanie’s shared home town of Austin, TX.
Fidell does an excellent job at showing restrain but still forming a sad story of a fairy tale love during it’s death rattle. And, boy do Farmiga and Rosenfield help her out with that! It is a difficult task for young actors to develop the sort of on screen chemistry that makes you believe they may have in fact known each other their whole lives, but they do just that. Dan and Melanie know the each others facial tics and voice inflections, so much so that not many words are needed for them to know what the other is feeling, thinking, or even trying to hide.
“6 Years” is, like many films before it, about the ending of a young, flawed relationship. The powerful performances and Fidell’s capable directing and ability to steer her film away from cliches set it apart from other films of it’s kind. It is one of the better relationship dramas I have seen recently, and is now available on Netflix streaming.