Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Don’t Think Twice’ (2016)

The Film Arcade

The Film Arcade

There’s communication that happens through traditional Mercurial processes. And then there’s the Uranian kind which bypasses logic. With Uranus in the driver’s seat, the mental goods drop into your cranium unobstructed and insanely quickly – no detours – like some kind of enlightenment. It’s not unlike improvisational theater: split-second, unhinged and out-of-left-field dialog.

Don’t Think Twice, written and directed by Mike Birbiglia who also stars in the film, is a brilliant take on Uranian odd-ball, rapid-fire responses, the think-speak formula beloved and embraced by improv artists. And because Uranus is also the archetypal genius and revolutionary – eager to shout-out its uniqueness and be separate from the crowd – the movie also addresses how this off-beat, ear-catching discourse which unites friends can also, in the same breath, sever bonds.

The tight bunch of improvisationalists who call themselves The Communes is all about self-expression in favor of the group, being in the moment and getting out of your Mercurial head. They’re not about snowboarding. Nor are they concerned about verbal mishaps while performing. “In improvisation, there are no mistakes,” is their motto.

Despite their closeness, The Communes’ members desperately hope their skill sets will fuel their ascent in the entertainment industry; the group is a potential talent pool for an “SNL”-type of skit show. The pals’ struggles to individually soar unite them, and they remain tight until one day Jack (Keegan-Michael Key) gets that sought-after invite. Suddenly his stand-out Uranian gifts – Uranus also rules friendship and equality – paint him as a traitor, if he separates himself from the tribe.

The rest of The Communes (Birbiglia, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, Tami Sagher) experience sour-grapes syndrome. As one character tells Jack, “Your head is bigger now.” In sizing up Jack’s good fortune, they’re forced to face their own shortcomings in attaining financial security and adult-level maturity. Especially heartbreaking is Jack’s girlfriend Sam (Gillian Jacobs), whose sense of unworthiness threatens to derail their relationship.

Because Uranus’ bailiwick also includes independence – tied to the archetypal rebel who refuses to be bound by constraints – the film, in the end, looks at life as a balancing act between unconventionality and interdependence. Even a genius needs to stand down enough to get along.

Archetype: Improvisationalist.

Astrology Archetype: ☿ ♅ (Mercury, Uranus)

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