Comet tells a story of love that spans over six years and over a few parallel universes. I’d like to start off by applauding it for the bold stylistic choice used to represent it. The non-linear timeline flashes forward, backwards, and sideways. Yet, the story remains coherent and connected, in heavy part due to the two main leads Kimberly (Emmy Rossum), and Dell (Justin Long). The movie tracks a break-up, a getting-back-together, a proposal, and a story of how they met, all of which is done non-chronologically. Why shouldn’t it? It remains an engaging description of love and relationships. There’s no concrete linearity between the ‘big’ moments in a relationship; they just happen. Looking back at any big relationship in your life, it seems impossible to piece together a ‘timeline’. Sure, you remember the coffee you guys picked up, the way her hair danced to a summer breeze, the first time you had sex. But if you were asked to piece it together into something that had some semblance of a coherent timeline, it would seem impossible. They’re just moments dancing their way around the cosmos, and they never seem to return to us the way we want it to—we’re left forever chasing. It is this feeling that I believe this movie aims for: moments that you cherish that somehow get thrashed away in an unrelenting wave of non-linearity. But nonetheless, it’s still cherished by the mind.
The movie ends with Dell’s tirade on the irrationality of trying to get Kim back. This moment is complimented by some stylistic cinematography, as the scene progresses a second sun begins to peak its head out into a sky that seems to be an amalgamation of fading colors. And slowly, the scene begins to evolve into a static picture—a painting. I think everybody should be able to connect with this on many levels. There’s always going to be an idealistic hope to win an ex back, and it’s always irrational. It’s a chase back into the past, and the past always remains an abyss that never lets go. And in the end it will devolve into a static picture, an apt metaphor for the seemingly static period when you think you found happiness. But you can’t move forward, because the stasis you think you want is that which suffocates you.
In a lot of ways Comet plays out like a dream, a movie that is interwoven with jarring details that you’d rather remain nondescript. But you have to take it as a whole, inculcating these seemingly irrelevant details, because in the end, it’s what you’ll wind up remembering.