In Search Of a Midnight Kiss (15)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Jun 10 2008

This debut indie flick is a crude, funny and tender riff on romance with a script that crackles with deadpan, spiky humour. It’s New Year’s Eve in Alex Holdridge’s monochrome, nouvelle vague version of Los Angeles. The day starts badly for aspiring, late- twentysomething screenwriter Wilson (Scoot McNairy) when his best friend and housemate Jacob (Brian McGuire) catches him masturbating to a Photoshop mock-up of his girlfriend, Min (Kathleen Luong). Neither laidback Jacob nor his girlfriend mind very much, and neither do we: we’re too busy sympathising with likeable, wry Wilson to find this episode anywhere near as vulgar as it sounds.

We’re with Wilson from the off: this young man, all week-long stubble and indie threads, looks like he’s got the world on his shoulders. He’s hurting over the girlfriend he’s left behind in Texas and worried about spending New Year’s on his own. It’s that fear of loneliness that drives him to put an ad on Craig’s List calling himself a misanthrope who’s seeking the same.

Within hours he’s at a local French café being interrogated by self-styled steely vixen Vivian (Sara Simmonds) who underneath her dark sunglasses and callous put-downs (‘I’m not going to waste my New Year’s Eve on some total fuck-up’) is as vulnerable as Wilson. While she and Wilson walk and talk about downtown LA, each of them fronting and flirting and joking in their self-protecting way, we hear the endless voicemails from her boyfriend who’s crying about her unexplained disappearance.

The heart of the film unfolds on the streets as Wilson and Vivian wander about the city. This is the central LA of abandoned theatres, tired pavements and office plazas – miles from Hollywood – and Holdridge does a great job of turning it into a theatre and sucking up all that it has to offer. He reminds us how lonely the city can be. As we look at Wilson and Vivian standing in an empty theatre, marvelling at the ceiling and enjoying each other’s company, we thank God for Craig’s List, even if he’s trying to discuss art and she insists on talking about the cool rooftop pool at the Standard Hotel.

There’s some Texan folk on the soundtrack that Holdridge uses to anchor this chatty, often laddish film, in a quieter emotional reality. You’ve got to hand it to him for daring his men to speak their minds without coming across as unlikeable stereotypes. It’s amusing and spot-on when Jacob reduces humans to the level of beasts, telling Wilson not to be afraid to carry a condom on a date because ‘we’re animals, we’re apes, we stick bits of plastic into us so we can come’.

Much of the movie plays out like this: someone says something filthy and personal and we’re hooting with laughter and nursing a little heartbreak from the truth of it. A few other films come to mind – ‘À Bout de Souffle’, ‘Before Sunrise’, ‘Knocked Up’, even ‘Manhattan’ – but finally ‘Midnight Kiss’ achieves a laidback, Los Angeles hipster charm all of its own.
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Release details

Rated:

15

UK release:

Fri Jun 13, 2008

Duration:

110 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:0
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LiveReviews|26
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Rebecca

.....well I liked it. I'm no cinema expert, It just happened to be on TV one night and I couldnt bring myself to change channel. Theres a very likeable quality to it even though it is vulgar in places. Lifes vulgar.

Rebecca

.....well I liked it. I'm no cinema expert, It just happened to be on TV one night and I couldnt bring myself to change channel. Theres a very likeable quality to it even though it is vulgar in places. Lifes vulgar.

Vee

We rented this movie last night on Cable, hadn't read a single review, in fact, never heard of the movie before. It was shot in Black and White to outstanding quality. Very creative scenes and some of the lighting really was mindblowing. We loved it!

Vee

We rented this movie last night on Cable, hadn't read a single review, in fact, never heard of the movie before. It was shot in Black and White to outstanding quality. Very creative scenes and some of the lighting really was mindblowing. We loved it!

....

the movie bites. the acting is worse then the script. i saw this film. people left the theater i was at.

....

the movie bites. the acting is worse then the script. i saw this film. people left the theater i was at.

.*.

There is nothing wrong with doing children's theater, but if that is what you did, then that is what should be on your resume and in you bio. There is a very big difference between in a role between respected established professional theatre and inacting a story book character in front of children. It is also a lot harder to land a part in a respected theatre or troop than in a local children's theatre. That's whats wrong with misleadng people on your resume. Would you want your doctor to do the same?

.*.

There is nothing wrong with doing children's theater, but if that is what you did, then that is what should be on your resume and in you bio. There is a very big difference between in a role between respected established professional theatre and inacting a story book character in front of children. It is also a lot harder to land a part in a respected theatre or troop than in a local children's theatre. That's whats wrong with misleadng people on your resume. Would you want your doctor to do the same?

Joe

I saw this a while back at the AFI fest in L.A. and it brought the house down. I can't wait to see it again when it comes to theaters here. I don't think I'll put out any more personal ads on craigslist, though. I don't need to get murdered by crazy ex-boyfriends!

Joe

I saw this a while back at the AFI fest in L.A. and it brought the house down. I can't wait to see it again when it comes to theaters here. I don't think I'll put out any more personal ads on craigslist, though. I don't need to get murdered by crazy ex-boyfriends!

cinephile4

Jamiexoxo comment so so poor. Sara Simmonds was awesome in the film, and I think this review completely missed the awesome chemistry that she and Scoot had in several of the movie's key scenes. What's wrong with doing children's theater, anyway? No up-and-coming actor can expect to immediately land roles in Iron Man.

cinephile4

Jamiexoxo comment so so poor. Sara Simmonds was awesome in the film, and I think this review completely missed the awesome chemistry that she and Scoot had in several of the movie's key scenes. What's wrong with doing children's theater, anyway? No up-and-coming actor can expect to immediately land roles in Iron Man.

jamiexoxo

Sara Simmonds' acting so so poor. I did a little research and found that her resume lists that she was the lead in many affluent plays. Well well well -- these plays featured her as the lead..., the lead in children's theatre. This says a lot about her acting in this film and in Echoes of Innocence. What's with actors bluffing their skills? Do they seriously think they won't be outed when their talentless pasts come to fruition on the screen?

jamiexoxo

Sara Simmonds' acting so so poor. I did a little research and found that her resume lists that she was the lead in many affluent plays. Well well well -- these plays featured her as the lead..., the lead in children's theatre. This says a lot about her acting in this film and in Echoes of Innocence. What's with actors bluffing their skills? Do they seriously think they won't be outed when their talentless pasts come to fruition on the screen?

Sutton

Enjoyable and funny indie love story of sorts. Some amusing, if close to the bone... excuse poor pun. The male lead was excellent, unlike the supporting male role.

Sutton

Enjoyable and funny indie love story of sorts. Some amusing, if close to the bone... excuse poor pun. The male lead was excellent, unlike the supporting male role.

Kate

This movie is totally overrated and vulgar. No need to compare this to Before Sunset or Before Sunrise that would not be affording those two films their achieved hale, but I would compare this to the boring American potty-mouth indie scene. What is it with American films and their desperate need for attention? I wanted to leave the theatre as did a handful of the other disappointed patrons did..., but I stayed to bare the bit. Horrible. Agreed the others: BLAH to the HYPE!

Kate

This movie is totally overrated and vulgar. No need to compare this to Before Sunset or Before Sunrise that would not be affording those two films their achieved hale, but I would compare this to the boring American potty-mouth indie scene. What is it with American films and their desperate need for attention? I wanted to leave the theatre as did a handful of the other disappointed patrons did..., but I stayed to bare the bit. Horrible. Agreed the others: BLAH to the HYPE!

fred

This film is really trying to be smart and achieves nothing. It's attempting to be before sunrise but ends up like a low budget elizabethtown. Trite, predictable schtick. And the two main actors were so annoyingly bad at acting. Several people walked out of the cinema I was in. Don't bother, it's shite.

fred

This film is really trying to be smart and achieves nothing. It's attempting to be before sunrise but ends up like a low budget elizabethtown. Trite, predictable schtick. And the two main actors were so annoyingly bad at acting. Several people walked out of the cinema I was in. Don't bother, it's shite.

Julie Levin

This film was an accurate portrayal of Love and reality in the 2000's computer age. I haven't laughed so hard out loud in a film since I can remember! Fabulous cinematography and Direction. The actors were so likeable and funny. A10 out of 10!

Julie Levin

This film was an accurate portrayal of Love and reality in the 2000's computer age. I haven't laughed so hard out loud in a film since I can remember! Fabulous cinematography and Direction. The actors were so likeable and funny. A10 out of 10!

Will

I saw this last night and really enjoyed it. The review describes hooting with laughter and that was exactly what happened in the cinema - this film got more audience reaction than I've seen for a long time. I did have mixed feelings while watching it however. After the very funny opening the middle section of the film started to get me thinking it was going to be a bit schmaltzy. I couldn't help but compare it to films like 'Lost in Translation' (two strangers, big city, lots of flirting) and I thought that where 'Lost in Translation' was effective in leaving things very open and ambiguous, 'Midnight Kiss' seemed to be a little bit too 'fairy tale romantic'. The Wilson of the first few minutes of the film ("all week-long stubble and indie threads") seems to transform into a suave, flirty man-about-town a little too easily as the two characters wander around LA. However, there are some great little stings in the tail, and I thought the ending was great - it made me reassess my mid-film judgement and think that this really is a realistic and honest film after all. Very highly recommended,

Will

I saw this last night and really enjoyed it. The review describes hooting with laughter and that was exactly what happened in the cinema - this film got more audience reaction than I've seen for a long time. I did have mixed feelings while watching it however. After the very funny opening the middle section of the film started to get me thinking it was going to be a bit schmaltzy. I couldn't help but compare it to films like 'Lost in Translation' (two strangers, big city, lots of flirting) and I thought that where 'Lost in Translation' was effective in leaving things very open and ambiguous, 'Midnight Kiss' seemed to be a little bit too 'fairy tale romantic'. The Wilson of the first few minutes of the film ("all week-long stubble and indie threads") seems to transform into a suave, flirty man-about-town a little too easily as the two characters wander around LA. However, there are some great little stings in the tail, and I thought the ending was great - it made me reassess my mid-film judgement and think that this really is a realistic and honest film after all. Very highly recommended,

nef

I went to see this film last night, really not knowing to expect. The verdict... it was really funny, moving, arty and inspiring all at the same time!! The characters are brilliant, the acting superb and you will finding yourself laughing throughout it. You will not be disapointed, it is awesome!!

nef

I went to see this film last night, really not knowing to expect. The verdict... it was really funny, moving, arty and inspiring all at the same time!! The characters are brilliant, the acting superb and you will finding yourself laughing throughout it. You will not be disapointed, it is awesome!!