I have a soft spot for rom coms, preferably of the slightly unusual variety. It’s no surprise, then, that I enjoyed this one.
Molly is a pretty waitress with a college degree, a mountain of debt, and a tendency to end up with problematic boyfriends. She has been left money by a great aunt but her cousin has been blocking Molly from claiming her inheritance, and so – for now – her dreams of opening her own flower shop remain frustrated. Gus is a handsome, charming, talented physics graduate. One day he ends up in the café Molly works in, and it’s attraction at first sight on both sides. Clichéd boy meets girl, right? Except that the plot has a twist; there’s something very unusual about Gus.
Three years ago, Gus suffered a brain aneurism which means that every time he falls asleep, all of his short-term memory instead of being transformed into long-term memory is just wiped away. He can’t remember anything from after the aneurism for longer than a day. Each morning he wakes up with no idea who he is and what’s going on, and he sees a folder with a note on it which reminds him to read it first thing. The folder tells him about his condition, and on his laptop are stored a system of notes and files from his voice recorder and instructions to himself, from yesterday, of what he should be doing today.
Using this neat system, Gus manages to navigate quite a few dates with Molly reasonably successfully, albeit with quite a few awkward moments. His sister keeps telling Gus that he should tell Molly the truth about himself, and after a while he decides that he will, but things keep getting in the way. Of course, Molly finds out in a messy, mini crisis, way, and for a while it looks like their relationship is over. But then they get back together, Molly finds out that there’s a new brain surgery Gus could try which could restore his memory, and the film looks like it’s going to have an unbelievably neat ending… when the plot takes a little U-turn, which makes it much more endearing in my eyes, because of its realism. I won’t tell you what that U-turn is or how things end up – I’ll leave you with a bit of surprise 😉
I found this film quite slow going at the start, and didn’t really get into it for the first half hour. But, gradually, it grew on me, and by the end I was really enjoying it. Zachary Levi (Gus) does a great job of capturing the puppy eyes “love at first sight” experience Gus has with Molly day-after-day, and – let’s face it – there’s something endearing about the idea of experiencing that infatuation feeling afresh every day for the rest of your life, as for all of us that feeling does fade and change (in a good way, on the whole, but sometime you miss that initial romantic “high”, don’t you, even though you wouldn’t trade it for the real depth of long-term love), and so that makes the film very cute. But it doesn’t completely skirt the real issues and problems either, and ends on a very ambiguous note.
I guess it particularly resonated with me because I’m dyspraxic, which means I have problems with co-ordination, memory, processing speed, and visual & spatial intelligence. My processing speed and my visual and spatial intelligence are actually mostly fine; the most severe element of my dyspraxia is my memory. I’ve learned to hide it well and to work around it, but I can empathise with some of Gus’ not knowing names, not remembering people, not remembering things that have happened. My memory is much more erratic than Gus’. Some things I remember extremely well, usually things that form a narrative or make a web of connections, like my research, or my first dates with my boyfriend. But things that, to me, seem random or somewhat less significant/interesting, like people’s names, the date, place names, where things and places are, random little chores, can all too easily fall through the cracks in my overloaded RAM. And so, like Gus, I have a complex but navigable system of notes and reminders to stay well organised and on top of my forgetfulness. Like Gus, it’s unpredictability that catches me out, like a former student stopping for a chat in the corridor and I know who they are but I can’t remember their name, or someone asking when something is when I don’t have my calendar (on my phone) on me. So yeah, if you’re dyspraxic you might especially like this film!
It’s not a Christian movie, but it’s very clean (I only noticed one passing sexual reference), which is unusual for modern rom coms (…which is why I don’t watch many of them). It’s clear at points that Gus’ worldview is not the Christian one, but an implicitly agnostic/atheist scientific one. That didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the film, as I live and work in a primarily non-Christian environment, so I’m totally used to encountering that perspective; but, maybe some people would be a bit put off by it, so I’ve mentioned it.
All in all, the film is a light and sweet couple of hours entertainment.