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A young couple bound by a seemingly ideal love, begins to unravel as unexpected opportunities spin them down a volatile and violent path and threaten the future they had always imagined.

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6 Years movie full length review - Nice film that's too shy about its own material

I went into this thinking it was going to be another Like Crazy (2011) which I absolutely enjoyed: a drama that naturally documents the highs and lows of a young couple's relationship.

6 Years (2015) borrows heavily from that film's style but lacks any of its substance which is quite disappointing since it has adult material waiting to be explored but is simply poked and prodded and never turned over.

Dan (Ben Rosenfield) loves Mel and Mel (Taissa Farmiga) loves Dan. It's that simple. They've been together for 6 years to the surprise of their friends and colleagues given that they're only in their early twenties. All is well as we're shown a rosy glow, summer montage of Dan and Mel making love, riding bikes, frolicking at the beach, eating ice cream, and hanging out with friends at a BBQ party. After a hard night of partying and drinking, Mel gets into a drunken, irrational fight with Dan and shoves him into a dresser, cutting the back of his head. This serves as a foreshadowing of bigger fights to come, all of which show cool-headed Dan becoming the unlucky foil to Mel's rage. There is a subplot with Dan trying to decide whether or not to take a job in New York, away from Mel in Texas but that only serves to put stress on the relationship and highlight Mel's sudden and, mostly, undeserving mood swings.

The film's attempt at trying to study domestic abuse from the perspective of an abused male is noteworthy but becomes annoying when it is clear the filmmakers have no intention on exploring the matter further. The story suffers for it and, unfortunately, so does one of its actors. Taissa's performance really shined in the small, subtle moments when she was doting on her boyfriend, discussing/defending her long-term relationship amongst friends, or expressing remorse for her actions after fighting with Dan; but when it came to pulling off the big outbursts she either couldn't fully commit or couldn't go to a dark enough place in order to convincingly pull off the performance. I think it was because she needed more background information on her character, just as much as the audience needed it. We get glimpses of Dan's supportive mother which gives us a cursory explanation for his laid back, cool-headed, rational disposition. But we're never shown Mel's mother. She remains a mystery just like Mel's quick tendency to lash out. Not many films realistically show a natural progression of domestic abuse, particularly from a male's perspective, so it was quite disheartening when it seemed this film was too shy to go any deeper into the topic of its own adult material (which even includes an "almost" rape scene!).

All in all, it's still a nice film that's beautiful to look at and listen to. The film is wonderfully shot in a clear, crisp yet hazy white glow highlighting both of its stars attractive features and scored with nice indie tracks masquerading as 80's synth pop. In the end, 6 Years will have you ready to break up with it but wondering what could have been. Skip the theater and check it out on Netflix or cable when available.