I MELT WITH YOU, 2011
Stars: Thomas Jane, Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven, Arielle Kebbel, Carla Gugino, Sasha Grey, Tom Bower, Christian McKay
When four 40-something college friends meet up for their annual reunion, things start to spiral out of control.
Everyone goes through some hard times. At some point in your life, you’ll feel hallow, depressed, and devoid of purpose. Your psyche has to fall apart so it can rebuild itself into a more efficient and focused person. Well, “I Melt With You” is a tribute to that feeling of self loathing. Sound like fun?
“I Melt With You” is the story of four 40 year old plus friends that take a week long vacation together. At their beach house they party, drink, discuss days of yore, listen to music, have philosophical discussions, and take an excessive amount of drugs. So many drugs, I question if the human body could survive. At one point Rob Lowe’s character literally takes two large handfuls of mystery pills and gulps them back with a shot of jagermeister. Maybe I’m just a lightweight.
Richard (Thomas Jane) is a failed novelist turned school teacher, Johnathan (Rob Lowe) is a divorced doctor, Tim (Christian McKay) is the grounded voice of reason, and Ron (Jeremy Piven) is a happily married man with an occupation I have trouble recalling. All these men are going through similar mid-life crises and being together only exacerbates their deprecation. Humans are directly influenced by their surroundings and these four have surrounded themselves with chaos, hated, and morally toxic behavior.
After an hour of partying, drugs, and naked prancing, Tim commits suicide. He does so to withhold a pact the four made twenty-five years ago. The four signed a letter of agreement in their own blood, and the way they have been living coincides with the suicide portion of that agreement. Since Tim was the seemingly stable one, the other three legs of this, already wobbly, stool collapses. They walk the line of ethical ambiguity as they discuss what to do with Tim’s body, whether to involve the police, and whether to uphold their pact.
This movie is gorgeous. It is beautifully shot and its edited in a sporadic pace intercutting stock footage, provocative images, and streams of light and color. Along with the wacky images, the musical score weaves in-and-out spontaneously. It’s unlike 99% of the films out there and it seems more like an experiment than a cohesive film. It feels like a half remembered dream of someone with ADHD.
Performance wise, all four actors give it their all. They dive right into that dark side and they live there for the entire film. Thomas Jane especially. He’s the more aggressive one, and he’s a bit more eager to emotionally implode. No matter how you view this movie, it’s a massive accomplishment for these actors. This film is emotionally exhausting. At just a tad over two hours it feels like its just a tad over four. It displays raw human emotions driven strictly by id with little to no mention of rationale or logic. Have you ever had a friend get really drunk and have an emotional meltdown in front of you? That’s close to what this movie feels like. A lot of inebriated philosophy and inner torment is displayed. Will the twenty year old you still be in tune with the forty-four year old you? Probably not.
This is going to be a polarizing film. Some will think it’s style over substance and way too egocentric. Which it is. Some may see it as an honest and brave film that doesn’t shy away from looking into the eyes of the abyss. Which is also true. Good for you “I Melt With You.” You’re a movie that left an impression that I am still pondering over, you told a story that is a massive departure from what a general audience is used to, and you weren’t afraid to delve into a dark and ambiguous subject matter. Does that mean I likes it? No, not at all, I kind of hated it.
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