Dan: “I don’t wanna break up.”
Mel: “Tell me you love me, and tell me you want to spend the rest of your life with me. Look me in the eye, and tell me.”
Dan: “I’m sorry.”
6 Years is about a young couple who have an ideal relationship until things turn unexpected and lead them into a violent path. The theme of this film is to value quality over quantity. I choose this theme because regardless of how long you have been with someone, you should always consider how you are being treated in that relationship. Through the setting, characters, and suspense we can see this theme permeate in each of these categories.
Characterization plays a major role into defending the theme. I find Mel to be the protagonist more than Dan. Although they both have flaws and issues that they need to work out, Mel was the only character to seem to have a change of heart in the end. In the scene where Will takes Mel home, you can see even though she is heavily intoxicated, she still pushes Will away. After he left, Mel was crying and feeling remorse for leaving the party with Will. In the final scene, Mel proves a point that Dan doesn’t actually truly love her. The setting is another way that the theme is developed. Six Years is set in Austin, Texas at a university that Dan and Mel attend together. Dan is hoping to work for a record label, while Mel is a student teacher at a local elementary school. Within the years that they have been dating, they have only ever lived in Austin. Dan and Mel were previously together in high school and they moved on to college with each other. This shows that both of them never had time to experience the world alone, and their individual goals became each other’s goals. Furthermore, because of the time frame they have been together, they choose to stay together without realizing how poorly they were treating one another. The suspense in the film is the final aspect of the theme and how it is composed. Towards the beginning, Dan is offered a job in Brooklyn, New York. We follow Dan through the film wondering if he is going to take it and where the relationship will go from there on out. In the final scene where Dan and Mel get into a huge argument, Dan tells Mel that he wants to stay. We know this isn’t the case because Dan is holding onto how long they have been together. The film ultimately ends right after Dan says he’s sorry.
Through the setting, characters, and suspense we can see this theme is developed by these three categories. Domestic abuse is never okay in any way, shape, or form. 6 Years shows us that every love story doesn’t have a good fairy tale ending, but instead the truth of what really happens in some relationships. This film sheds some light on how it’s not just from one side, but how both of them were physically and mentally abusive.