It’s surely impossible to give proper time or consideration to every new micro-budget semi-improvised US indie relationship drama out there, though it’s heartening to see this kind of thing giving breaks to potential new filmmakers, even if too many seem to take their relationship cues from the songs of Taylor Swift and the like. (That’s unfair: I love the songs of Taylor Swift.) Still, the stories and characters are all largely familiar if you’re already part of the urban-dwelling white middle-classes, but perhaps it can at least be said that some of characters’ emotional arcs are less well-explored by mainstream filmmaking. With 6 Years the story is, yes, about a young white middle-class couple (in the hip bit of Texas), but I reckon there’s still plenty to be interested in. The characters are nicely drawn — Mel (Taissa Farmiga) seems to be still a student and has a tendency to lash out at Dan (Ben Rosenfield), who has music-label aspirations and his own problems with being a mansplainey avoider of responsibility for his actions — which include a new, increasingly intimate attachment to one of his work colleagues, Amanda (Lindsay Burdge). The acting on the part of the two leads is excellent (Farmiga had a small but memorable role in The Bling Ring, while Rosenfield was largely comatose in Song One so it’s nice to see him more active here). It may not go in an entirely feel-good direction by the end, but in a way it’s more honest to its characters, and that much makes both the ending and the film as a whole feel more assured — and in a way, hopeful — at least to me.
Director/Writer Hannah Fidell; Cinematographer Andrew Droz Palermo; Starring Taissa Farmiga, Ben Rosenfield, Lindsay Burdge; Length 80 minutes.
Seen at home (Netflix streaming), London, Tuesday 15 September 2015.