Comet

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Comet Movie Poster Image
Decent acting can't save talky romance; drinking, language.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 92 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Love is the only thing that matters, and it's not how a love story ends that's important but the love itself and how it can change you.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dell and Kim are both extremely smart (he's basically a genius), but they're also (him especially) annoying, whiny, and self-centered.

Violence

After Dell asks for Kim's phone number in front of her date, the date grabs Dell and roughs him around without actually hurting him.

Sex

Lots of kissing, caressing, and one scene in which the main characters are in bed taking off each other's clothes, but at the last minute they don't end up having sex. The couple has a whole conversation in which the woman is wearing just underwear. Talk about satisfaction and other sexual references.

Language

Frequent use of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "douchebag," and "motherf--ker,"

Consumerism

Saab, iPhone.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Main characters (adults) drink on dates and smoke weed a couple of times.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Comet is an unconventional romance that takes a non-linear approach to a couple's relationship, exploring how significant milestones affected the future of their love story. Strong language (lots of "f--k," "s--t," "motherf---er," etc.) sexual situations (lots of making out, references to satisfaction, and an undressing scene in bed), and casual drug (pot) use make this drama a better fit for parents and mature teens, but not younger viewers.

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What's the story?

Dell (Justin Long) meets Kimberly (Emmy Rossum) while waiting in line to see a meteor shower at the Hollywood Forever cemetery in Los Angeles. Dell is standing in front of Kim's handsome but pompous date (Eric Winter), and he can't help obsessing over the fact that Kim is too good for such a pretty but shallow man. But the love story in COMET doesn't progress chronologically from that moment; instead, it moves in between various phases of Dell and Kim's relationship -- providing glimpses of them out of order and all at once. In one scene, they're at the beginning of their relationship in the cemetery; in another, they're meeting each other post break-up -- only to be in a Paris hotel room in the next sequence, with Dell considering proposing while Kim mulls over everything wrong in their relationship. As they navigate the different turning points in their couplehood, it's clear what went right and what went wrong.

Is it any good?

Writer-director Sam Esmail's feature debut is definitely ambitious: non-linear, overly talky, and narrowly focused on two characters, both of whom are familiar but not-quite-A-list actors. Long and Rossum commit to their roles, but even a serious romance demands that audiences invest in the couple, and it's hard to when most of the time viewers will want them to just stop talking. Their constant bickering and bantering would be better served by humor and wit than sarcasm and condescension. The romance also lacks chemistry; for all the kissing, there's very little heat between the actors.

Although Esmail's script could've used a better editor, he shows promise with his visuals and the performances he elicited from his stars, who both helped produce the indie film. Perhaps this hipster love story will fare better with millennial audiences in their late teens and early twenties, but parents may have a hard time suppressing eye rolls as egotistical Dell rants on and on about virtually everything (although it all boils down to the stupidity of others) and Kim can't decide what she wants from the relationship. For a far better unconventional romance, see (500) Days of Summer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the non-linear approach to Comet's story, and whether it's successful in making the romance seem all-encompassing. Would a straightforward approach have worked better? Can you think of other movies that take an unconventional approach to storytelling?

  • Talk about how the relationship is portrayed. Do you think it's believable that this couple got together? Is one of them more likable than the other?

  • How does the movie portray drinking and drug use? Are there realistic consequences?

Movie details

For kids who love romance

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