The premise of a man and woman rushing through all the phases of falling in love in one twenty-four hour period with the backdrop of a great city is a popular one. Nonetheless, it is a formula I never tire of, especially given the three main characters of "Medicine for Melancholy": Micah, Jo and the city of San Francisco. An awkward introduction in the light of day after a drunken one-night stand leads to an inauspicious "date" spent biking and cabbing around San Francisco. Unlike the relentless (but entertaining) dialogue of the Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy characters in "Before Sunrise," or the charming tension between the mis-matched and ill-fated Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in "Roman Holiday," the couple in "MFM" spend long moments of non-verbal connecting that is tinged by an overt sadness. This melancholy is confirmed by the sad dog eyes of Micah, the initially cold reaction of Jo and the lovely washed out hues of James Laxton's cinematography as he records the events of the single day shared by the couple. This movie is not driven by a narrative per se but by a series of moments that show a real emotional ballast many cinematic long-term relationships could not convey. Yet, the inevitability of the day's end and thus of the relationship's (mirrored by the fate of the city itself as it succumbs to a gentrified, character-less version of its fabled self), create a longing I felt hours after the movie ended. The soundtrack certainly contributed.
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