In the new indie dramedy Comet, the romantic relationship between a young man and woman is tested and presented in a rather unique way. Justin Long and Emmy Rossum’s characters go through the motions over the course of six years but the film’s plot is told in flashbacks and flash forwards, providing for a fresh take on the rom-com genre. The chemistry between the two stars is superb and the filmmaker’s style is oddly beautiful. While not a classic love story, it does offer viewers a chance to see a man and woman fall in and out of love and in again from a variety of different angles.
Dell (Long) is a neurotic hipster who tells it like it is. He sees the glass as half empty and suffers from slight social awkwardness. Enter Kimberly (Rossum), a cute young lady who’s smart as a whip. She crosses paths with Dell on a number of occasions and these two were made for one another and over the course of several “alternate realities”, they learn about each other and discover all of their likes and dislikes, their quirks and things that downright annoy them. The film’s back and forth nature perfectly symbolizes the chaos of their relationship and with the plot unfolding the way it does, the film is pretty interesting to watch.
Writer/director Sam Esmail (Mockingbird, Deep Down in Florida) has taken the romantic comedy formula and basically turned it on its head. Comet is a bold experiment in style and its goal is a noble one: to tell a simple love story in a different and interesting way. He succeeds in that respect but the dialogue is a bit pretentious and irritating at times. The script feels like Aaron Sorkin but not quite as witty or sharp. Long and Rossum recite their lines with confidence but the actual words fall flat in terms of originality or intelligence. The only real highlights here are the actors and editing which is quick and snappy, transporting the couple to various points in time and space.
Justin Long should be commended for providing audiences with one of the finest performances of his career so far. He still has the “I’m a Mac” attitude and it comes across loud and clear with his character of Dell. Cool and at times, obnoxious, he is a typical leading man for the 2010’s. Much of the same can be said about Emmy Rossum, who is adorable, quick and at times, rather sexy. She isn’t the greatest actress in the world and there are scenes which may make you wish she wasn’t the female lead but she does her very best and she looks good doing it. Comet is an average love story at best but Sam Esmail’s unique filmmaking style elevates the film to new heights. Comet posed an important opportunity for Esmail and here’s hoping that the man will delve into other genres like say that of an action-thriller. There’s no doubt that he can put his special stamp on any film genre that comes his way.