I saw one of those TV commercials that's really a mini-movie, a small gem of a narrative. It's the latest Subaru ad, the one where the wife gives her husband an easel, and this gift unlocks in him the urge to paint outdoors in all sorts of inaccessible natural locales, reachable by Subaru. Even the abridged version they show on TV (time is money) is charming, but the "long form" on YouTube is even better.
Of course the object is to sell the car, but inside the hearts of this creative team lurked the need to explore human nature. They started with perfect casting, an expressive pair of average-looking but extremely individual actors with great chemistry. Then the storyline: wife wants to get hubby the ideal birthday present, and she outdoes herself with a gift that he immediately devotes himself to using. Last of all, the pacing: a series of rapid scenes in all kinds of weather, where they drive to a location, and he is seen painting, in pouring rain, the spray of incoming waves, the dust of a desert mountain. Finally he looks up at rain coming down through sky-high trees. Climactic scene: an entire wall of his paintings, and the Missus hangs the last one, of the rain through the gap into the trees. "This is my favorite one," she says. He points out very gently that it's upside down (no one could possibly tell), and she hastily rehangs it.
The best factor is that this pair is always together, no matter what the weather or how remote the painting spot. She chases after him to warn him of incoming tide. (Not that he listens; he's absorbed in Art.) She is glimpsed in the passenger seat as the car clambers over uneven terrain. It's clear that they share a life in a deep way. Watching this ad is like watching a great pair of ice dancers skating to just the right music.
Has anyone seen it? It's become one of my favorites, along with (for different reasons) the witch in the broomstick factory and Gretchen Bleiler snowboarding into space to the Lou Reed song for AT&T. Some commercials are just works of beauty in their own right, and their feel can often be less crass and monetary than some movies (which seem to be made just for product placement).