Much ado about time: Notes on 'Comet'

Ticket to Comet
Written and directed by Sam Esmail, Comet tells the story of “now” girl Kimberly (Emmy Rossum) and “five minutes from now” guy Dell (Justin Long).

“I don’t like time,” says Kimberly, who finds the whole idea of a beginning, middle, and end restrictive. As someone who lives “in the now,” she enjoys things like paintings, for they are there to be experienced whenever and however she wants. Meanwhile, Dell, who labels himself a “five minutes from now person,” is addled with fear, always pre-empting a disaster that may or may not happen.

The two protagonists’ perspective on time serves as a driving force of the film, which is set in parallel universes. As how Kimberly may have liked it, the story is narrated through a series of time jumps and with changing color palettes, allowing the audience to take in the moment as a fragment that can stand on its own.

We see glimpses of their first meeting, falling out, break-up, reunion and reconciliation, yet never in that order. Fuzzy as a comet, though, the film at some point feels like it’s going in circles.

Putting its soporific tendencies aside, Comet manages to be cute, funny and romantic while it shows the tough, and mostly mundane, realities of a relationship — lies that both sustain and ruin a partnership, dodging commitment, and pure disappointment by the other’s words and actions.

Following a story that bounces back and forth through time is the least of a filmgoer’s concern when watching Comet. It’s following the quick-fire exchanges between Kimberly and Dell that moviegoers should watch out for. They move on to the next clever remark before you get to fully digest the preceding one.
KIMBERLY: You don’t deserve me.
DELL: Good. I want someone I don’t deserve.

* * *

DELL: I like you because you like me… That’s what we want in a relationship. It’s looking for someone who will love you the way you love yourself.
These lines are delivered to perfection by the two leads. Long and Rossum made a convincing pretty girl / awkward guy pair. Their characters’ differences naturally go beyond their looks and how they’ll follow through will keep the audience on their seats. As Kimberly learns (or argues), “It doesn’t have to look good on paper to feel good.”

Despite its references to the celestial and dream-like feel, Comet encourages lovers to take risks and not leave their fate to the stars. It tells you to go ahead and introduce yourself to that beautiful lady alongside her handsome date, spare some time for that weird boy, express love. Grab that chance because if it slips, you might have to travel to another world just to find it again.

—Originally published on GIST.PH

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