The actors all understand the script and deliver on the oddly comedic tone with energy. They share a natural, easygoing chemistry and can each carry a tune pretty well. Klassen veers from snarky host to loving mother believably. Mika Kay’s blunt, no-nonsense way of speaking does make her sound unlike any other teenager, but that is the point. She consistently delivers a dry performance, which makes her character that much more realistic. For his part, T.C. Folkpunk is very fun in his role. While Dani’s giving an interview to a musician in the backyard, Sid comes in and just stares at them. Then he says that the guitar is his, he takes it and walks away. Hilarious.
But, Love In The Sixth has a flaw, and it is a pretty big one. See, for all of Klassen’s impressive writing abilities and understanding of character, her directorial style is all over the map. Mind you, she brings such zippy, snappy creativity that it is dizzying. But, the implementation is more confusing than cohesive. Excluding the E! like show Dani hosts, all the narrative moments are in black-and-white. The musical numbers are in color. And to be honest, that would not be an issue. Highlighting the more fantastical elements by making them visually contrasting the rest of the film could work.
However, not all of the songs are in color. I do not mean that individual images or cuts during the songs are in black and white. That could simply indicate a flashback or memory, thus tying into the narrative directly versus emotionally. No, I mean whole production numbers are not in color like the rest of them because… because… randomness, I guess?
“…all understand the script and deliver on the oddly comedic tone with energy.”
At around the 50-minute mark, Sid and Dani, in separate locations, begin singing a song. It’s a dramatically heavy one, and it is a good song. It is in black and white, but there’s no reason for it. The earlier song on the swings (my favorite song mentioned earlier) is also very emotional, and yet it is in color. As such, it is not the gravitas of the song that decrees black and white versus color. Yet because Love In The Sixth has already established the musical moments to be in color, it is confusing why this moment is not.
Then there’s the editing. The songs are all edited like music videos, which makes a lot of sense. Some are hyper-edited and have a crazy spin to them. Others are slow fades and montages, which all suit the style of the song at the moment. However, Klassen does not translate a similar style to the narrative moments. As such, I am not sure if these songs are happening in-universe or if they are fantasy in the characters’ minds. This uncertainty makes it hard to invest in the film entirely.
Love In The Sixth is helmed by a director with a distinct sense of style, even if that style is a bit confusing to outsiders. However, it is bolstered by a strong cast, catchy songs, and an absolutely fantastic screenplay populated by entertaining characters. Couple that with the sweet nature of the production and the hilarious dialogue, and you are left with an uneven but enjoyable ride.
"…Highlighting the more fantastical elements by making them visually contrasting..."