The FILM IN WORDS Netflix Film of the Week: helping you navigate the filmic minefield of the nation’s favourite video streaming service.
Words: Brody Rossiter
The ins and outs of indie rom-coms are few and far between. Guy meets girl, guy falls in love with girl, girl breaks guy’s heart, guy eventually accepts that he and girl will never be together, and vice versa. They are bittersweet and somewhat more “real” alter-egos of Hollywood’s romantic output, honing in on the emotional aspects of relationships, often those of achingly cool young adults, as opposed to the grand spectacle of falling in and out of love inside a make-believe fantasy of serendipity and starlight.
Save the Date is one such lo-fi love story, filled with beautiful people playing out the tumultuous everyday tales of lovers turning into couples, and facing the exciting but nevertheless scary prospect of spending a lifetime together – only with better clothes and easier access to independent bookstores.
Sisters, Beth and Sarah, are both romantically entangled and facing big scary relationship precipices; Beth will soon marry her fiancé Andrew, and Sarah has just moved in with her boyfriend, Kevin. After series of unfortunate events throw both couples into a tailspin of self-doubt and second-guessing, Sarah’s commitment issues threaten to derail her and her sister’s love lives and leave the pair helplessly bobbing into an ocean of unfulfilled marriage and casual rebound sex.
What often sets these contemporary hipster love stories apart from one another is the personalities on offer, and luckily Save the Date is full of quirky, frustrating, loveable and often wholly unlikeable character traits. The primary sources of such qualities are the charismatic and captivating female leads Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie; two women who most heterosexual men would happily marry or have their hearts broken by. The juxtaposition of Brie’s charming homemaker and Caplan’s seductive home wrecker is both the film’s major strength and criticism. It’s easy to fall in love with them both, but it’s also easy to see that the sisters are male construct, one acting as all those beautiful girls who smashed hearts into shards of bitterness and distrust, the other, the beautiful girls who eventually came along and picked up all those distrusting pieces.
Nevertheless, whether or not the sisters are a figment of a very real but also exaggerated male gaze, they drive the narrative, and the charming geeky men who inhabit their world are forever at their mercy despite their tendency to hand out the odd high and mighty life lecture. In conclusion, women are beautiful, intelligent and beguiling creatures and men still aren’t quite sure how to deal with that, so sometimes we write love stories in which we can.