6 Years – Hannah Fidell, 2015
Netflix rates it: 2/5
I rate it: 3/5
6 Years follows high school students Mel (Taissa Farmiga) and Dan (Ben Rosenfield) as they experience bumps in the road of their six-year relationship. As they’re reaching the end of school, both have different paths marked out for their future, and this appears to cause issues with their plan to be together forever after high school.
Farmiga and Rosenfield’s acting ability is the clear stand-out of 6 Years, as they achieve a natural chemistry, capturing the comfortable and easy nature of a relationship that has existed for a long time. It’s a really interesting relationship to see on screen, with them pretty much living together and acting like a married couple in some respects, but on the flipside arguing about tiny unimportant things. These two conflicting sides shown throughout the film could be representing the uncertainty of being the characters’ age; nothing is definite and there’s some desire to grow up yet a conflicting desire to stay young.
As with many independent productions, 6 Years is quite clearly a coming-of-age film, Farmiga’s character even stating “It’s the end of my childhood. I have to grow up now.” The storylines in the film also lend themselves to the theme of growing up, with Mel having to pack up her things from her childhood home, and both her and Dan having to learn to take responsibility for their actions. There is also a lot of dialogue based around their futures; jobs, internships, and moving away from home. The unresolved ending further demonstrates this uncertainty about the future.
The camera shots are intentionally naturalistic, emphasising the personal nature of the film, and the intimacy of Mel and Dan’s relationship. This works well in the film, as most characters are periphery compared to the importance of the two leads, so this places the focus firmly on them.
The only downside of 6 Years is that it almost seems slightly too dramatic. Although there are realistic relationship difficulties and disagreements shown in the film, it has a tendency to spiral out of control in a way that would, realistically, be unlikely in a teenage couple’s life. Of course, exaggeration to some extent is necessary, however, here it appears to go slightly too far; it’s contradictory to the naturalistic presentation and supposedly realistic nature of the film.
6 Years is probably not a film that will particularly interest an older audience, but an interesting and entertaining film for those of a similar sort of age as the main characters. Definitely worth seeing, even if just for Farmiga and Rosenfield’s impressive and convincing portrayal of their characters!