Last Night (2010)
Written & Directed by Massy Tadjedin
“In the middle of most nights, when I can’t sleep I still replay you.” ~ Joanna
Movies that happen over the course of one night (or one day) are a favorite of mine, as I mentioned in a recent post where I listed my 10 favorites. Also, I am quite a big fan of Keira Knightley, and many (if not all) of the roles that she’s played. So, when I stumbled on the movie, “Last Night”, while searching through movies in one day/one night, I realized Keira is in it, and that I’ve never seen it before.
I’m also a fan of unrequited love, chance encounters, and unpredictable love stories. All that said, I’m not sure that this was any of those, not completely. I could argue that there was unrequited love between Joanna and Alex, but it was definitely not the theme of the film, or what the unfolding of the story was meant to be – at least not from my perspective.
I was severely split on the characters in this film, and the storylines. I would have been perfectly happy to have never met Michael, or had any time spent on his storyline with both Joanna, and Laura. It was Joanna’s story that interested me, and no, not just because Keira played her, but because she seemed more flushed out, more complex, and definitively more interesting. She had a complicated relationship with herself, as a writer, a wife, and an individual. She wasn’t any one thing at all, which is refreshing in a female cinematic character, and made me pause to think…oh, well of course, this is written and directed by a woman.
Alex was also interesting, even though we only really saw him through the eyes of Joanna, and his friend/agent (I think), Truman (yay, Griffin Dunne, please be in more films). Alex was the quintessential one that got away, but he was more than just that past fantasy that we all (or most of us) have, we got to see a bit of his side of it, and that Joanna, too, was his one that got away – maybe in a much bigger, deeper way than he was to her.
There is a moment on the train, towards the end of the film, where I think we really see how Alex feels – and its done silently, through expressions on his face, as he clicks through photographs of Joanna, and flashes on memories he has. There is also a moment with Joanna, as she sits in a window sill quietly crying, that says volumes about her, and how she is feeling about not just Alex, but about her life.
I wanted more of her, and honestly think her husband Michael, and his encounter with his coworker, could have been left out. We still could have understood the conflict and confusion, and doubt, Joanna had about her marriage without meeting him. Also, his story, and his dalliance with his coworker, were too surface and stereotype. There were no surprises there, or complexities (except a glimpse at complexity with Laura, and her being a widow, which I wanted more of), to these characters. They felt predictable, and throw away.
It made me feel that the writer’s heart was really invested in Joanna, and in Alex, and even Alex’s friends, and that flushing out a story with Michael and Laura was just an afterthought.
All criticisms aside, the movie was worth seeing for Joanna and Alex. For them, I would recommend it.
Points for a haunting, romantic, moody soundtrack, too. One I think I may need to own.
Daniel :: Bat For Lashes
Pillow Talking :: Clint Mansell