Five Films that Inspired ‘Sunsets’
My solo play, Sunsets, is about one woman’s fascination with romantic comedies and her attempt to find her own happy ending. While recording it for a podcast, of course. It looks at the golden age of rom coms (and beyond) but also the content that we consume in general and how our relationship to fantasy can impact our reality. It only seemed right, then, that I talked a little bit about which movies inspired me along the way.
You’ve Got Mail
Ah, Tom Hanks, ah, Meg Ryan. You take me back to that warm and fuzzy feeling of watching a film when I was younger and thinking that everything would be OK. And this is something my character, Denver, in Sunsets, expresses. But there is a scene in You’ve Got Mail (I won’t reveal which..) that is about so much more than just sitting at an AOL account writing sweet nothings to a perfect stranger. It reminded me that a film, a story, any sort of content really, can be whatever you want it to be. It just depends on where you’re looking.
The Truman Show
What a film! What an idea! I love shows within shows. Plays within plays. Anything that is aware of itself or unravels a fantasy world. Sunsets attempts to do this by combining the two worlds of films and podcasts. I wanted to delve deeper into this fascination we seem to have with creating things. Entertainment. Anything. The reason we tell these stories and why we sometimes don’t feel like things happened unless other people witnessed it. And, of course, I loved the moments in this movie where Laura Linney’s character is trying to plug random products to the camera. I tried to mirror this with the podcast sponsorship snippets in my play. I find it interesting that you can be listening to a podcast about something profound and then a voiceover abruptly tells you to buy dog food. And you don’t have a dog (BUT YOU GET 3% OFF!).
500 Days of Summer
I often think about the scene in this film where Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is conflating his expectation of what will happen at the dinner party with his ex-girlfriend, vs what actually happens. It’s heart-breaking to watch these play out side by side and it brought me back to my fascination with the difference between fantasy and reality. Plus, in any film with ‘romance’ in the genre, people expect there to be a happy ending. It’s a reminder that they don’t all have them. Or do they? And do they just take different forms?
La La Land
Emma Stone’s character writes a one woman play in this! That’s me! Ok, I joke. I’m not comparing myself to Emma Stone. But I did love the amazing way this film leans into the glitz and glamour of the movies. I had to get some of that across if I was going to tackle the romantic comedy world. Plus, that ending? Definitely food for thought.
This is the first film I remember watching that seemed to more accurately reflect what was going on in my reality. Mums and Dads weren’t necessarily staying together. Life was being navigated in separate households and Mrs Doubtfire shone a light on how this impacted the children; not just the adults. I hope there is a little part of that that flickers through in Sunsets.
Georgie Grier is the Writer and Performer of Sunsets. She will be performing her Edinburgh Fringe previews of the show at Omnibus Theatre on Thursday 20th and Friday 21st July at 8.30pm.
For discounted £5 tickets, add the code ROMCOM at checkout!
Georgie’s Twitter: @georgie_grier
Georgie’s Instagram/TikTok: @screensteruk