The 5 Year Engagement – Review

The 5 Year Engagement is a romcom that takes a real life approach to relationships.

From the producer of Bridesmaids and director Nicholas Stoller comes a brilliantly funny romcom, The 5 Year Engagement. This film follows the pre-marital tribulations of a newly engaged couple, Violet (Emily Blunt) and Tom (Jason Segel) as they try to plan their perfect marriage in their ever changing lives. When Violet is offered a job, starting for two years, at the University of Michigan the couple relocates from San Francisco, the place of Tom’s career, in order for Violet to pursue her dream job. This refreshing reversal to the normative gender roles, where the woman is expected to give up her career for the man that she loves, makes the film ever more grounded into our reality where the gender roles are somewhat equalising.

Despite not challenging the conventions of the romantic comedy in the sense of the clichéd ending and the heteronormative premise of the film, The 5 Year Engagement plays with the male ego and subtly subverts gender norms in the sense of what we consider to be the roles of a man and a woman in a heteronormative relationship. Tom has to adjust to life in Michigan which includes taking up knitting with his new friends. However, he soon becomes an emotional wreck after he spends his days hunting, cooking, and knitting. Violet, on the other hand, is the one in the relationship that suffers from a kind of commitment phobia as she keeps putting the wedding off. This commitment phobia is usually attributed to the men in the relationship, as they are most often, but not always, represented as playboy bachelors. Therefore, The 5 Year Engagement is a romantic comedy from the 21st Century as it presents this dynamic couple in a situation quite normal to our modern-day society.

The 5 Year Engagement adds a fresh twist to the romantic comedy, despite hinting by the end that all essentialist traits are reaffirmed, in particular through Violets sister, whom at first is against the institution of marriage, yet seems to be the first to get married and have children. This romantic comedy, in particular, deals brilliantly with these relationship issues, that most of us will encounter in our lifetime, and the desperate male ego, despite the open ended ending. This hilarious film offers a refreshingly realistic portrayal of a couple enduring their pre-marital trials and tribulations without all the Hollywood gloss and in a way in which the audience can identify with. This makes the film great fun to watch.

With hilarious, often improvised, banter and humour from the start that often include clichés of embarrassing in-laws and marital jokes, alongside fantastic performances by both Emily Blunt and Jason Segel that ground this film, this film will make you laugh throughout. The 5 Year Engagement is a fantastically funny film and is definitely worth watching.

Written by Shirley Welton who also blogs at Beyond the Edges of the Frame

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