The Groundhog Day/time travel romantic dramedy infuses some of the same girl meets boy story arcs into darker themes, which includes exploring trauma and mental health. Meet Cute follows Sheila’s (Kaley Cuoco) pursuit of creating the perfect first date with Gary (Pete Davidson). In order to form a bond, Sheila uses a time machine tanning bed that allows her to travel 24 hours back in time so she can relive that first date over and over … and over. Needless to say, too many first dates eventually become extremely messy.
Meet Cute director Alex Lehmann drew inspiration from the 2012 film Silver Linings Playbook which also had major mental health overtones amid a love story.
‘Meet Cute’ and ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ shows the struggle for love
Pete Davidson and Kaley Cuoco in Meet Cute have some similarities to Pat (Bradley Cooper) and Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) in Silver Linings Playbook. All four characters are unsettled in their lives, yearning for love. The characters in both films are in a fragile and vulnerable state when they meet and take a jagged path to romance.
Lehmann isn’t a fan of rom-coms in general, which is why Silver Linings Playbook resonated with him. “Silver Linings Playbook was a big inspiration for me initially because it shows that people who are struggling will search for love, usually in all the wrong ways,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
“I wanted to make a film that showed that these characters’ brokenness is OK,” he added. “I find the idea of two people meeting and having their neuroses line up really attractive. It feels so honest to me. I think we’re all a lot less complete than we represent, and I think showing that is something a lot of viewers will relate to.”
Characters in both films explore multi-dimensional darker sides of love and mental health
Meet Cute and Silver Linings Playbook explores the darker sides of mental health such as death. In a way, some viewers could villainize Pat in Silver Linings Playbook for some of his aggressive outbursts as he continues to react to learning that his ex-wife had an affair with his best friend.
The same could be said about Sheila in Meet Cute because she insists on reliving and often interfering with shaping Gary’s behavior to create her perfect person.
Lehmann asserted that Sheila was not a villain in Meet Cute, but instead flawed. “But is she a bad person? No, she’s just trying to protect herself. As the film goes on, and as the viewers see that, I think they’ll empathize with her more and see that those bad traits come from bad places, it doesn’t inherently mean a person is ‘bad,'” he said.
Both films have happy-ish endings
Both Silver Linings Playbook and Meet Cute allow the main characters to find love … at least what is shown at the end of the film. Pat and Tiffany seem to be together, seen kissing in an armchair as the film comes to a close. And Sheila and Gary walk away together at dawn after an emotional night.
But with both couples, the viewers don’t know if they ultimately stay together. And that is one of the biggest reasons why both films do not fit the traditional rom-com bill. While Silver Linings Playbook won’t likely have a sequel, Meet Cute could return. “I’ll say this, there are definitely some characters I would love to explore further in a sequel. I mean, c’mon. We have a tanning bed that’s actually a time machine!” Lehmann exclaimed.