Friday, June 13, 2008

IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS - one of my favourite films of the year

Take all five.Writer-director Alex Holdridge's debut feature, IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS, is a wonderfully funny film about modern courtship. It's remarkably frank, the characters and situations feel real, and the whole thing makes you feel good about life without being manipulative or obvious.

The opening scenes of the film reminded me of Woody Allen's brilliant MANHATTAN - except this time the black and white lensing captures contemporary Los Angeles. But as the movie progressed it reminded me a lot more of the Doug Liman flick, SWINGERS, with it's micro-humour milked from the lives of failed actors, cruising LA for love. Instead of Vince Vuaghan's cocky motor-mouth Trent, we have Brian McGuire's Jacob - deeply funny, bracingly honest, the ultimate cool best friend. Instead of Jon Favreau's broken-hearted Mike, we have Scoot McNairy's broken-hearted Wilson. Wilson misses his ex-girlfriend and, having been exposed jerking off to a photoshopped picture of his best-friend's girl, is shamed into joining Craigslist to find a date for New Years Eve. As with Mike, Wilson is clueless when it comes to modern dating, but in his favour, he's genuinely likeable and the audience cares that he has a good time and rebuilds his confidence. His date, Vivian, is beautifully written and beuatifully played by Sara Simmonds. She starts off as bitter and caustic, melts into a giggling schoolgirl and ends as a damaged woman. It's rare to see such a well-rounded female character on screen.

I love the way the film avoids clear-cut happy endings and neat characters. This isn't a conventional Hollywood fairy tale. I also love the fact that, unlike most rom-coms, IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS made me laugh out loud throughout its run-time, even while it had me genuinely emotionally involved with the key protagonists. You really must go and see this film! (And I say that rarely...)

IN SEARCH OF A MIDNIGHT KISS played the festival circuit in 2007. It opened in the UK this weekend and opens in the USA in August.

3 comments:

  1. Karan Arora5/11/08 5:31 PM

    Agree, agree, agree. Woefully underseen gem of a movie. Reminded me of Linklater-Delpy-Hawke's world of Before Sunrise and Before Sunset. If you haven't seen them, please do so pronto (although given your resume I doubt if they've escaped your attention lol).

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  2. Yeah - I've seen BEFORE SUNRISE and SUNSET. The first was novel and sweet but I thought the second had real pathos and style. Watching 2 DAYS IN PARIS made me think that the development in style was more down to Julie Delpy than Linklater.

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  3. Yea funny you say that. 2 Days in Paris really plays out like a sequel to Before Sunset, and stylistically yes, a welcome reminder of Linklater's duology. Its another underrated gem, and am glad you liked that one too. Delpy's just all heart.

    Just watched Linklater's Waking Life a few days ago and thot that was pretty amazing too, in its own people-indulging-in-passionate-conversations-encompassing-everything-about-life kinda way in rotoscoped animation.

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