42. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Every once and a while you see a movie at the right time. It just hits every emotional note that you’ve been feeling. I had just had my heart broken and I went to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It was the best break-up film since Annie Hall and until (500) Days of Summer came out a few years later it was the most realistic depiction of a break-up.
Peter is a musician dating superstar Sarah Marshall. After years of dating Sarah randomly breaks up with him. She’s been with another man.
Peter falls into a depression where he fucks anything he can and cries constantly. He decides he needs to take a trip and goes to Hawaii. While there he discovers that Sarah is also there with her new boyfriend Aldous Snow.
Peter begins to spend time with the staff of the hotel and strikes up a friendship with a front desk receptionist named Rachel. It contains elements of screwball comedy mixed with love triangles and full frontal male nudity, who could ask for more.
What I love about this movie is that it’s a fair depiction of a break-up. The lead character isn’t a guy who is heartbroken for a day and then meets the girl of his dreams, instead Peter is a crying mess. He tries to fill the hole with random sex and ends up depressed and concerned of STDs.
Sarah Marshall, while cheating on Peter, is still a likable character. She exposes Peter’s less points like spending a week in sweat pants and never trying to better his life. She makes mistakes... because she’s imperfect, like all people.
Aldous is the man Sarah is cheating with, but even he is so down to earth and nice that Peter finds it difficult to hate him. In fact the only time he truly has hatred towards Aldous is when he realizes how long the infidelity has been going on.
Beyond all of this, my favorite elements are the flashbacks. It’ll randomly flash back to Peter’s memories. Each time they go from ‘Fond Memories’ to the reality of those memories. Anyone who’s ever been in a rough break up knows how that is. You can only remember the best times at first, then you start to remember the bad times and you suddenly are content and can move on with your life.
Jason Segel is a brilliant writer and fearless actor. This is his shining moment.