Friends to the end.
Mark Pellington’s I Melt With You defines the term friends to the end. Say what you like about friendship, if fortunate, friends sometimes are the single thread that helps to keep people together. Adapted from a screenplay written by Glenn Porter, a group of old college friends who attend their annual weekend retreat–only this time, they are forced to take a hard look at their lives, and the decisions they have made.
There may come a time when each of us takes a moment out of our busy lives and reflects on the important events in our lives, and perhaps compare our dreams to the unique situations that life has led us: Re-evaluating friendships, family, and public and private achievements. No one can honestly assess the real results of our deeds laid bare before us, and yet, we somehow celebrate our failures and successes to form the basis of, according to Abraham Maslow, “the basis of the perceived need for self-actualization, ‘what a man can be, he must be.'” If social or psychological, and intimate needs are not met, one just cannot progress to the next level in the hierarchy of requirements. I Melt With You directly serves as an example of how human motivation, need, self-actualization, and self-transcendence resonates throughout the emotional, and tragic events that occur.
Richard, Ron, Jonathan, and Tim, whom all are in their 40’s, meet every year at a lofty beach house to re-live their 1980’s college years filled with drugs–lots of them–alcohol, and their memories. They arrive one by one and enlist themselves in drugs and alcohol. The room, filled with laughter and tales of their sexual conquests, and current lives, however, something was different about this time. Richard is a failed novelist and the rowdiest of the quad. He teaches a high-school class of uninspired young adults, Jonathan, is a divorced parent and drug-addicted physician, Ron is married and father of three daughters–the Feds for corruption are also investigating him, and Tim, a hopeless romantic, still grieves over the death of his lover and sister. All are in one form or another, at a point of self-actualization. Unfortunately, it is what they are forced to come to terms with–when they failed to live up to personal expectations, led them to reconsider the 25th-year blood pact.
Watching, I Melt With You was an emotionally heavy experience. Director Mark Pellington wanted you to feel every moment of these four middle-aged men’s bouts with self-indulgent escapades–to reveal the dark side of growing old, festering in guilt, and existential crisis–and wasn’t afraid to remind themselves of the mess they made of their lives. The film succeeds in depicting emotional turmoil, and how each of the men failed to satisfy social, psychological, and emotional needs growing up, evidenced by the yearly drug binges, an effort to recapture that particular point in their lives when the world was in their hands. Only to realize too late through their recklessness, that they can no longer avoid reality. They speak mainly about the past, as they could not successfully address the present—although their current lives truly weren’t that bad. Even when it came to finality, they would still reminisce about the past, and the time wasted.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie; the acting performances are solid (Piven, Lowe, Jane and McKay at their emotional best). Once you get past the bombardment of music, sex, drugs, and alcohol–and the ‘out-of-place’ or random addition of a local cop, Laura (Carla Gigino), you can appreciate the conscious value I Melt With You offer–that life does not always turn out as planned. There are difficulties, attachments, challenges on individual’s emotional well-being. Below I have attached the title sequence of the film. The reason for this is that it emphasizes the particular importance of the entire movie, it provides a glimpse into the minds of these men and the inner conflicts they repress. It is an exceptional inclusionary detail by Pellington, for it sets the tone for the rest of the film.
You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only option you have.
Art and supplementary materials courtesy ©2011 of Magnolia Pictures. All rights are reserved.