While finding and being with your high school sweetheart is seen as an ideal and romanticized, “6 Years” pushes a reminder of the challenges of getting with someone, and staying with them, throughout the most transformative years of your life.
Read our Editorial Guidelines regarding how posts are written and rated and our use of affiliate links.
Naturally, if a movie presents itself as us getting to know two young people who have been together for 6 years, you know there is going to be drama. After all, they seem to only be in high school or college and been together forever. Question is, though: what will tear them apart and, will the reason for reconciliation make sense? Though they could always go down the road of showing what keeps two young people together for 6 years, but I doubt that is an option.
Trigger Warning(s): Rape Attempt
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
They are the enviable couple. They met sometime in high school, stayed together through college, and are so cute and in love that they almost seem foreign in modern times. Yet, they are real. They are Mel (Taissa Farmiga) and Dan (Ben Rosenfield). One, Mel, who plans on becoming an elementary school teacher and then there is Dan who wants to work in the music industry.
Which leads to the conflict of the movie. Dan’s co-workers, especially one named Amanda (Lindsay Burdge) are getting more of his time and energy than Mel. Then, to make things even more difficult, not only is the relationship between Amanda and Dan getting muddy, but also Dan is offered a job in New York. This is a big issue for Mel since, currently, both she and Dan live in Texas. Leaving us to wonder, by the movie’s end, with Dan having so many opportunities, both professional and perhaps sexual, what will become of the 6 years he invested with Mel? Will they remain together and try to work it out; perhaps go on a break; devolve their relationship into a friendship; or will their breakup be something of a tornado ripping apart each other’s lives until it seems all that was built in those 6 years was nothing but dominoes being set up to fall?
- It is hard to deny that Farmiga and Rosenfield make a cute onscreen couple. The type you’d imagine, by the end of the movie, might end up engaged, married, or perhaps would end the movie with children. For the way things seem in the beginning, it is like we are presented a cute little suburban fairy tale.
- I liked how there was a balance between Mel having her own friends, her own career, and Dan had his own friends and his own career. That way it didn’t make Mel seem like an accessory, or make Dan seem like a tool. Both had equal footing both in the relationship and in the film.
- Though I didn’t agree with a lot of the drama in the film, I was glad one of the issues brought up dealt with Dan possible going to New York and how Mel reacted when it wasn’t so much a discussion but him saying he was going to. That was perhaps the first time that it seemed their issues weren’t something sort of random and out of left field.
Fully recognizing that in this generation a 6-year relationship seems more like the exception than a rule, to me anyway, I just couldn’t get into any of the drama surrounding this couple. If it wasn’t Amanda and Dan being too friendly, it was Mel’s friends who honestly seemed like some undercover haters who all but said, “I hate that you have had a boyfriend so long and all I can do is drink my way to someone looking at me twice.” Which perhaps is a harsh thing to say but, honestly it did seem no one was happy they were a couple but Dan’s mom. Everyone else seemed ready, and willing, to mess things up one way or the other.
On The Fence
Outside of Dan’s conundrum with possibly going to New York, I’m unsure if there is any depth to the other problems in the movie. I mean, 6 years with one girl, who seemingly was his first and only, he doesn’t present as something rough, and she doesn’t present it as something bad either. Though, you have to wonder if maybe, subconsciously, perhaps he felt like he settled for what got comfortable. Then, when it comes to her, maybe she got more invested in it than him which, perhaps, is the only explainable reason for why, after Dan’s mistakes, and an incident which leads to cops coming, they end up going back and forth until a final decision is made at the end of the movie.
I think what I ultimately wanted was a mature romance. One in which, yes, they fought and had arguments, but it wasn’t because some third party was tempting him, or she was put in a position where something bad could have happened. Rather, could there be, for once, a romance film like this rooted in reality? Where maybe they do question, after 6 years, where are we going from here? Are we together because it’s convenient and what we are used to, or is this truly meant to be? Much less, when things are no longer convenient, and your dreams are taking you across the country, are we going to work things out, or is that the end of our run?
Those were the type of topics I was hoping for, but unfortunately what is presented is 3 incidents of them going from breaking up to getting back together, with each reconciliation making less sense than the last. Yet, despite how many times I rolled my eyes, a part of me must admit I did have hopes they could work it out. For it was just seeing them as happy as can be within the first 5 minutes, which really got me invested. To the point that, despite the type of BS I could not picture anyone putting up with, I still wanted them to end up happily ever after.
Follow, Like and Subscribe