On 1,238th March 2020, I watched Meet Cute. It was actually my second attempt at the film, as I gave up on my first watch. Something about this didn’t work for me. I’m not sure if it was the editing, script, choice of camera angles, or simply lack of chemistry in the leads. Maybe it was how the film seemed strangely empty, even in the outdoor shots of New York. Meet Cute was just missing something.
Sheila picks up Gary at a sports bar, where he is the only person not watching soccer. They have a long date, featuring food, vintage clothes-shopping, and a quirky ice-cream van. The date ends with a dark revelation, and then we find ourselves back in the bar, where Sheila picks up Gary once more.
During the dates, Sheila often explains to Gary that she is a time-traveller, being open about using a Time Machine in a nail salon to go back and repeat the date. I think this is the first film where the time loop is caused by the protagonist’s obsessive repetition. Like a lot of the ideas in the film, this had potential, but didn’t seem to lead anywhere.
The film deals with a lot of heavy themes around trauma and acceptance, but they never quite land. Also, each day, Sheila runs down her past self in her car, stuffing the body in the boot. This is played only as a gag, which is a problem in a film themed around trauma.
I hate being negative about a piece of art that people have worked hard on. The film has some positive reviews, but it never gripped me. It’s problems are underlined by the fact there is a five-minute montage of outtakes at the end, and the cut scenes seem stronger than some of those left in.
The voluntary time loop was an interesting twist – Sheila repeated the day hundreds of times, enough to have a ‘loop birthday’. This film had the elements of something great, and it’s a shame it wasn’t able to do more with its ideas around trauma, perfection and trying again.
- Length of first iteration (in film): 18.5 minutes
- Length of second iteration: 12.5 seconds
- Reset point: time travel
- Fidelity of loop: slow degradation as Gary starts to remember other loops
- Exit from the loop: the characters stop using the time machine