Forever’s Not So Long. It’s one of those titles that could go either way. It has that gooey, idealistic tone of one of those 90′s movies where tested lovers walk down a desert highway together after a long journey of looking good and learning life lessons to soft rock. My preconceptions became stronger as I found that not only was it American made, but a comedy, two forces that I find often come together in a bad way. So, like any aspiring critic (or wanker who thinks they’re funny), I saw the opportunity for some affable cynicism and began to watch. By the end I had found I was wrong on all accounts, bar it being American and a comedy of course.
We open with couple George (Garrett Murray) and Cindy (Debbie Friedman), frantically packing their possessions. As an audience we arrive at this scenario unaware of their impending doom and as a result their exchanges in this opening scene seem quite surreal. Whilst I now realise this is simply a way of garnering intrigue through mild confusion, my expectations of the film before watching it meant I at first misread the dialogue. ‘Here we go, another bad attempt at zany, spontaneous comedy by the yanks’ I thought. Though to be honest, I can assume most people aren’t so unfair in their judgement.
Without warning, our main man George is run out on by Cindy in a sly and ham-handed manner, and it’s clear there must be a reason for such erratic behaviour. A massive rock shaped reason as it turns out. Yes, it would seem a meteor is hurtling toward America (bloody shame) and is merely hours away from wiping the buggers off the face of the Earth. A sardonic news report reveals to George that the impact zone has now changed to right in the middle of New York city, where he resides. Not only that, but the amount of time it would take to evade the blast of the meteor has now changed dramatically, rendering any attempt at escape futile. Around this time I was starting to question the route the film was going down, it would be all to easy for them to wrap what was so far an average comedy in a thin veil of poignancy. The idea that the end of the world is coming to all of us. The idea that ultimately, all our actions and relationships have extremely limited resonance in the grand scheme of things. It’s a tired, angsty cliche that I think most people will be sick of hearing by now. Luckily, I don’t think this is writer and director Shawn Christopher Morrison’s message here.
So George decides he’ll spend his last lonely hours of living eating cupcakes in his apartment, and so departs to acquire said treats. Along the way he quite literally bumps into a new friend (Marielena Logsdon), who topples onto him on the pavement. After brushing himself off he begins to barrage her with a callous rant regarding their imminent annihilation. In a somewhat predictable turn of events the pair decide they’d rather spend their remaining hours with a complete stranger than die alone. What follows is a sequence that seems to try and mimic the span of a full romantic relationship within the confines of the time they have left alive. Surprisingly this is done quite well. Their interactions will no doubt remind you of your own relationships, providing moments of humour in their misunderstandings and, to use a sickening adjective, ‘cuteness’ in the typical couple activities they enjoy together.
We draw to a close as the ground suddenly tremors and the pair race to the window to witness the end of days. As they stand side by side I think it’s here where the film’s moral point is truly supposed to come through. George turns to the still unnamed woman and asks if she wants to know his name. Declining his offer, it is obvious that it’s not necessarily the nature or form of companionship that is important, but simply that they had it when it all ended.
At the end of the day the film isn’t riddled with knee slappers, but it is a positive and reassuring little pat on the back when assessing the sometimes harsh notions of life and love, and so for those soppy bastards out there (of which I am one) it’s enjoyable.