Sep 2, 2010

In Search of a Midnight Kiss (2007) - rude romance in black and white

directed by Alex Holdridge / starring Scoot McNairy, Sara Simmonds

'Between December 25th and January 1st the number of people on, CraigsList and MySpace increases by three hundred percent.' So begins the search of a midnight kiss, in the modern tale of modern love, In search of a Midnight Kiss. This film hasn't got much attention, and I only learned about it when reading a blog. It caught my attention, because it sounded similar to Before Sunrise, one of my favourite films. And yes... Midnight Kiss definitely had some similarities to Before Sunrise, but I'd say it's a more... rude and bitchy version of it. And less romantic. And romantic in a different way.

It's New Year's Eve in Los Angeles. Wilson plans on spending it sulking and wallowing in his misery, missing his ex-girlfriend and gloating in self-pity, but his friend convinces him to post a personal ad online. So he meets Vivian.

While I was convinced from the beginning that Wilson is a cool guy, Vivian, at first, was so rude and bitchy that I couldn't imagine myself learning to like her at all. Though of course I knew it was just an act and under that bitchy core there is a sweet, confused woman hiding, that's how these things just roll. She hides behind her sunglasses and talks so absurdly awful things you just can't belive she's serious. And she isn't. Totally.

Okay, so. I don't think I've made this clear yet, so I'll do it now. I liked Midnight Kiss, a lot. It was funny and witty and harsh (in a good way, meaning no prudishness here, at all) and finally also touching and romantic, and despite some of its cynical elements - and the rudeness and the bitchiness - quite encouraging and heartfelt.

To bring up the similarity to Before Sunrise again, the romance in Midnight Kiss isn't the same kind of soulmate-y, instant-connection love that worked so well with Jesse and Celine. What Wilson and Vivien develop that night is affection, no doubt, but merely just, in my interpretation, two people finding something they need at a time in the other person. And that is quite beautiful, too.

Speaking of beautiful, Los Angeles looks just that! When you think about the city, you always just remember the Hollywood sign and the Walk of Fame and the wide streets with palm trees where all those ridiculously rich people live. But it's really quite pretty, the downtown and the shops and the streets and the theatres. The black-and-white-ness just emphasizes this. Oh right, I guess I forgot to mention that the film is shot in black and white. Yeah, it's one of THESE Thursdays again, you know. Anyway, the b&w thing really works well. There's no particular reason for it, but I liked it and I'm glad they still do it from time to time. Colour is so overrated! (Okay, not really.)

 There's one random thing that came to my mind just now, and I'm just going to say it here and not try to look a better place for it. I'm blaming this on The Thursday. In the film Vivien has this 'hobby'. She takes pictures of lonely, lost shoes whenever she sees one. And I'm thinking, what a fascinating and fun thing to do! I should come up with a bobby like that.

I just keep on writing these random things. Stream of consciousness is a beautiful thing, isn't it! I liked both of the actors and I liked that they were both unknow faces. Everyone in this film was unknown. It's cool. Somehow it helps you to have an unprejudiced, fresh attitude on the characters, because you've never seen those faces before. They could as well be just who they act they are.

The dynamics between the two characters work quite splendidly - how their attitudes towards each other change gradually and though Vivien's switch from the rude bitch to somewhat normal person is quite swift, it works and is interesting to watch. In summary, I liked In Search of a Midnight Kiss very much and will definitely see it again. I haven't had a watching experience like this in a while, and this was a great reminder of the power of a good romance. No matter how bitchy.

"The midnight kiss. It's not just another kiss. It's all the hope of romance of the year culminating on just one moment."

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