Once in a while, someone dares to do something different, even with overdone genres like romantic comedies. And this “difference” is usually so simple yet so inventive that it shocks everyone as to how this was not thought of before. That is the story of “Meet Cute.” Sheila relives the same date over and over again, as it is the only thing that she trusts to make her happy. Before going further, can we just say how clever the casting was? We realized how much we missed watching Kaley Cuoco on screen. But the genius of the casting was Pete Davidson. Everything that is being said about him in the media was so cleverly integrated into the plot that it just made him irreplaceable. But coming back to the movie itself, we must understand that it is not a love story. It is, in fact, the story of a woman who needs to take a chance to find happiness in an uncertain future. Let us see how this plays out on-screen.
The Cycle Of Time-Travel Created By Sheila
“Meet Cute” starts with Sheila at a bar, intently looking at Gary across the room. She goes up to him and asks him whether he would like a drink. This is followed by some old-fashioned flirting where they decide to leave together and get some dinner. They end up making their way to an Indian place and, from there, an ice cream truck that sells a surprisingly edible flavor called ‘childhood dreams.’ Looking at the two of them, you would feel that it’s their first date. There is just that right amount of awkwardness and hesitancy when discovering things about each other. But this “meet-cute” is not as innocent or straightforward as it looks. Sheila mentions that she is a time traveler- she has come from 24 hours in the future. And according to her, they have had this date before. She had gone to a nail salon the previous day, wanting to look nice before she went ahead and killed herself. But she had found a time machine and, with the help of her nail lady June, was going to put it to good use. However, she had found Gary when she had gone back in time and the date had made her very happy- happier than she had been in a long time. Which was the reason she kept revisiting that day again and again. Because she believed she had found the vacuum in which her happiness could exist without being affected by anything else. There would be no unhappiness, no anger or disappointment and she could just be happy in this little slice of perfection which was the few hours that she spent with Gary. Which is why she never went to the next day. This pocket of time right here and now was going to be her reality for as long as she could do it. But in the words of Sheila herself, “even a perfectly cooked steak starts tasting like shit if you eat it every day.” A joke is funny the first few times, but it becomes tasteless when repeated again and again. Sheila starts finding problems in her strategy for happiness. She is tired of hearing the same jokes repeatedly, and let’s remember that while Gary is still thinking that he has met Sheila for the first time, she has known him a lot longer than that. Sheila wants to get to know him on more than a superficial level, but she is not ready to go the next day for that. And she is getting tired of the mind-numbing repetitiveness. After fighting with him one time, because she is tired of listening to the same things, she starts talking to Amit, the manager of the Indian restaurant. Mid-conversation, she believes that she has found the solution to her problem. She just needs to change Gary. Amit warns her that it is not possible to change people, an opinion we second. But Sheila is too far past gone to believe that.
The next day, she meets a different Gary. While the previous one was sweet and affable, this one is a headstrong start-up founder who tends to think more about himself than others. Sheila starts her bit about being a time traveler again, but Gary is not as into it as the previous one was. When she mentions that, he confronts her as to what she means. That’s when she tells him that after all the time, she has spent with him, she has narrowed down the specific trauma that has shaped him as a person and gone back in time to fix them. She was his Uncle Charlie, with whom he used to play fetch as a kid. And she was responsible for Tatiana as well. Gary lets her know that she has lost her mind. He had known Uncle Charlie for three years, which means that Sheila had been going back in time for 3 years. This is a different level of obsession. After a huge fight, he tells her that she just can’t shape other people’s lives for herself.
‘Meet Cute’ Ending Explained: Does Sheila Go Back In Time Again?
Sheila is dejected and decides to reverse everything that she has done. At the nail salon, June tells her something similar. She tells her that it is the good and bad experiences together that shape who people are, and she has no right to control them. Humans are shaped by each other and by the actions that they put out into the world. Sheila understands but does not listen. She goes back and reverses her own interference in Gary’s life. Back to her life now, she goes out for that date again, where she finds Gary as his old self. But this time, even he is aware that something is not quite right. He is completely distracted by the sense of Deja Vu that he is experiencing and tells Sheila as much, prompting her to reveal the time-travel thing. Both of them have another fight, but this time, he goes to the nail salon himself and seeks to fix whatever is wrong with Sheila. He accidentally goes back in time to when she was about 4-5 years old. Her mother mistakes him for the cable guy and asks him to fix the TV. Guess what Sheila was doing at that time? She is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, and she cries when she is unsuccessful. Gary consoles her and tells her that “it’s okay to be a little messy sometimes,” which is the exact line that she has been saying to him throughout. Sheila had spoken about the cable guy a few times as he was someone who was very kind to her when she was a child. It turns out it was Gary himself. Was it that reminiscent childhood memory that made her seek out Gary for her perfect night?
While Gary has gone back in time, Sheila comes to the nail salon to tell June that she is done with using the machine and will be moving forward. Gary just misses her, but June tells him that she is the same as before, and he needs to run to catch her. Gary finds her about to jump off the bridge. He pulls her back and tells her to just trust the future. It was going to be messy, but it was worth sticking around for. This is what Sheila needed to hear. Gary walks away, but when he turns back, he finds that Sheila is there, which means that she has decided to trust the future. She won’t be using the time machine again, and she is probably still scared of the future. But her time-traveling stint has taught her that there is never going to be anything perfect about happiness. She has to find it in moments throughout her life, and she is going to do just that, but maybe with a little company from Gary.
Final Thoughts: What Works For The ‘Meet Cute’ Film?
Despite the borderline absurdity of the plotline, “Meet Cute” is extremely engaging and takes time and effort to help us understand the exact motivations behind Sheila’s actions. She did everything that she had done because she did not want to die. For her, death was the last resort. It wasn’t about it being better, it was about something not being as bad. And when she finally found that she could be happy, she decided to live it again and again. But hope and trust in the future are the only way to more happiness, and she needed to be reminded of that. Of course, she needs some serious therapy, which we hope she gets. As for the film itself, it was sharp and engaging, and Pete Davidson now lives in our heads rent-free. “Meet Cute” is capable of becoming a cult classic, and we hope that as many people as possible watch it. An excellent movie about the chance one needs to take for one’s own happiness, which is, more often than not, just about going to the next day. It’s a compulsory recommendation from us.
“Meet Cute” is a 2022 Drama Romance film directed by Alex Lehmann.