6 Years

6 Years

Directed By Hannah Fidell

Rating: 3/5

Hannah Fidell’s 6 Years takes a beautiful and authentic approach to the demise of a young couple’s six-year relationship. However, it falls just short of capturing the same empathy from its audience.

Melanie “Mel” Clarke (Taissa Farmiga) and Dan Mercer (Ben Rosenfield) are young university students who have been together for several years. With Dan interning at a local record label and Mel training to be a teacher, the pair have their future planned. However, their friends and even family members are wary about the relationship, expressing concern that being tied down for so long and at such a young age limits their experiences and opportunities. 

After a drunken night out, Mel goes to Dan’s house and the pair get into an argument when he learns that she was drink-driving. Furious at his lecture, Mel shoves Dan into a dresser, accidentally injuring him. The couple end up in the emergency room and Dan lies about how the injury happened. This experience is the catalyst for what ensues. Dan kisses his co-worker and, as a result, Mel begins to violently lash out — leading to a string of dramatic events that signal the disintegration of their relationship.

With astounding cinematography, Andrew Droz Palermo captures the honesty and naturalness of the couple’s intertwining lives, not only expressing how dedicated they are to each other but also the growing toxicity in their romance — a toxicity that seems inevitable to the audience. The leading actors’ performances amplify the film’s rawness; they convincingly cultivate a longstanding chemistry that runs high on emotions. Although their performances are realistic, especially in conveying heartbreak, the events that take place are melodramatic, tarnishing the actors’ authenticity and creating moments of bewilderment for the audience. This film doesn’t quite measure up to others in its niche; Like Crazy and Falling Overnight never cause the audience to wonder whether they’re watching a soap opera because these films simply show us perspectives we can empathise with.

Visually stunning and with performances that carry the film despite its melodrama, 6 Years offers interesting and captivating insights into a relationship that just isn’t meant to last.

This article first appeared in Issue 25, 2015.
Posted 1:40pm Sunday 27th September 2015 by Mandy Te.