The Five Year Engagement

The past two weeks have been very satisfying ones for me regarding movies.  They’ve been so good in fact, that I’m inspired to write!  I haven’t written in too long.  Last week I got to watch Vertigo on the big screen at an outdoor park’s cinema night.  I feel like I mention this in every post, but Vertigo is my favorite movie.  So, I’m happy with any chance I get to watch it, but to see it on the big screen is magnificent!  Last night I watched The Five Year Engagement.  The story was a good one; it followed a couple, Tom and Violet – played by Jason Segal and Emily Blunt- from San Francisco, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan and gave the audience a chance to see some memorable architecture and lovely interiors along the way.

While in San Francisco, Tom and Violet attend a wedding at the park by the Palace of Fine Arts.  The Palace was originally built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific Exposition.

The Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, California. Bernard Maybeck, architect. 1915

The Palace is also seen in Vertigo when Scotty and Judy pass it during a walk.

Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak as Scotty and Judy at The Palace of Fine Arts in Vertigo

After San Francicso, we next visit the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  There are some very pretty views of the campus in Spring and in Winter.  I’ve also found a great flickr account (by cseeman) that shows them filming on campus at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business.

The Stephen M. Ross School of Business building on the University of Michigan's campus in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In The Five Year Engagement, Violet goes to the University of Michigan to study psychology.  The Ross building, built in 2004, served as Violet’s department building.

My favorite bit of production design in the movie, however, was the use of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Palmer House.  It was used as Violet’s professor’s house and truly is in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Palmer House at night.

Violet’s professor, played by Rhys Ifans, lives in a Frank Lloyd Wright house, although no one mentions this directly in the film.  His character, Winton, as in real life, is Welsh.  This is mentioned, and I liked the connection.  Wright’s parents were Welsh, and his architecture was often influenced by this heritage.

Winton, played by Rhys Ifans, lives in the Palmer House.

The Palmer House was built for William Palmer and Mary Warton Shuford in 1950.  Both graduates of the University of Michigan, the Palmers became familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright’s work upon seeing the Affleck House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  (The Affleck House was featured in a Chrysler commercial.)  William Palmer was a professor of economics at the University of Michigan.  What a perfect house to use for Winston’s home!  The Palmers lived in the house for over 50 years.  Since 2009, the house has been owned by Jeffery and Kathryn Schox.  Again, both graduates of the University of Michigan, they divide their time between Ann Arbor and San Francisco – like Tom and Violet in the movie!  Connections between real life and movie sets like this are fantastic.  I love learning these sort of facts like a detective.

Tom, Violet, and Winton in the Palmer House, seated on and surrounded by, Wright designed furniture.

In the film, we are shown exterior shots and interiors of the living room, mostly at night.  We also get to see downtown Ann Arbor covered in snow.

Tom and Violet in snow covered Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Besides enjoying the great background locations in The Five Year Engagement, I also liked Violet’s handbag and wardrobe!  She has a classic brown saddle bag that she carries throughout the movie and I like how they often had her dressed in reds.

I liked Tom and Violet's wardrobes. Especially Violet's red coat and brown leather bag.

Tom and Violet ...and that handbag again!



Filed under In the Cinema

3 responses to “The Five Year Engagement

  1. matthew

    YES! The blog is BACK!

  2. glenn


  3. Charlotte

    I am trying to find this ‘drunken pig’ prop used in the back ground of the five year engagement. Can you help?

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