Wristcutters: A Love Story
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It just doesn’t get much darker—or more out-of-the-ordinary—than this eccentric romantic comedy, set in a kind of purgatory that’s inhabited by people who have committed suicide. In this new world, everything is just a little bit crappier than it was in the last one. Everything is dark and drab, and no one ever smiles (in fact, it’s not even possible). But no one dares to commit suicide again, either—for fear of the next, even crappier world where they’d inevitably end up.

Then again, things could be worse for Zia (Patrick Fugit), who got up one morning, cleaned his apartment, and slit his wrists. He’s got a place to live, and he’s got a job at a pizza place. But he misses his old life—and he especially misses his ex-girlfriend, Desiree (Leslie Bibb). So when Zia finds out that Desiree committed suicide shortly after he did, he’s filled with hope of rekindling their relationship. So along with his friend, Eugene (Shea Whigham), and Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon), a hitchhiker who’s trying to find the People In Charge, in hopes of appealing her case and getting sent back, Zia takes to the road to find love in this desolate world.

Wristcutters: A Love Story isn’t exactly an easy film to explain—much less review in a positive manner—without sounding completely heartless and insensitive, as well as ever-so-slightly deranged. Sure, I am a film critic—so I guess that’s all just a part of the job description. Still, it’s rather difficult to admit that I chuckled my way through a movie called Wristcutters. It’s hard to explain how the film manages to make the situation—no matter how grave it really is—light and even humorous. Because, no matter how I explain it, it’ll just make me sound sick. But I guess that’s a price I’ll just have to pay.

In order to thoroughly appreciate this bizarre and totally imaginative romantic comedy / road film, you definitely need to possess a rather dark and twisted sense of humor. But here’s the thing: Wristcutters isn’t really about suicide. Yes, it’s always there, underneath the story. It pops up from time to time. You’ll hear the stories about how many of the characters “offed” themselves (the best of which is Gene’s). You’ll meet some desperate, despairing, and sometimes just self-obsessed characters. But that isn’t really what the story’s all about. As the title suggests, it really is a love story. It’s a story about moving on. It’s about making the most of your situation. And, most of all, it’s about stumbling on miracles where you least expect them. And there’s nothing morbid or depressing about that. The story is intriguing (and often surprisingly humorous), and the characters, despite their situation and their inability to smile, are likeable—especially Mikal, who goes out of her way to make their grim little world a little more fun.

During the moments leading up to the film’s conclusion, however, the story becomes even a little more obscure and out there for my taste—making the end not as satisfying as it could have been. Still, while it’s definitely not for everyone, this dark and outstandingly original film is just the thing for the daringly different filmgoer.

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