I saw a movie opening weekend! And I feel like writing about it! I’ve been looking forward to The Last Kiss since I first read about it on Zach Braff’s blog. He stars in it, but doesn’t direct it, which makes it slightly less squee-worthy than Garden State, but still. Braff was largely responsible for the soundtrack, which is excellent. In honor of it, I have updated the music player to play Braff picks–from The Last Kiss, Garden State, and Scrubs. Okay, I cheated and also threw in some from Grey’s Anatomy, because they’re similar-sounding. And also very good.
Back to the film. Braff plays Michael, a twenty-nine-year-old guy with a good job, a great girlfriend (Jenna), and a baby on the way. Everything’s perfect in his life, but that scares him–he’s afraid that everything in his life is planned out, and there won’t ever be any more surprises, and he’s afraid to be an adult and have his life settled. In addition to that, of his three best friends, one is single and happy, one just went through a nasty breakup with his long-time girlfriend, and one is constantly fighting with his wife about caring for their infant son, not to mention that Jenna’s parents’ thirty-year marriage seems to be coming apart at the seams as well. It’s really not surprising that he’s wary of marriage and commitment with these sorts of examples around him. He winds up making eye contact with Kim (Rachel Bilson), a college student, at yet another friend’s wedding, and is rather vague with her about the existence of his girlfriend and even more vague about the existence of his unborn child, and Kim goes after him. I was so terribly concerned that Michael would end up throwing Jenna over for the new experience of Kim (he does, briefly)…I came so close to screaming at him in the theatre more than once. The actress playing Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) was excellent, and really made it hard to believe that Michael would even consider leaving her. It also stretched belief a bit that Kim would go after Michael so quickly–I mean, I love Zach Braff, but it’s his whole persona…certainly not his looks, which is all Kim had to go on when she first started pursuing him.
But overall, the end turned me toward it. Kim’s philosophy when Michael told her he couldn’t leave Jenna was “Relationships either work or they don’t; the fact that you’re here with me now proves yours isn’t working, so give it up…I could be your last chance at happiness.” And I was concerned that the film would end up endorsing that. It certainly could have. But instead, Jenna’s father came through with: “Love isn’t about what you feel. It’s what you do to the people you love, that’s what counts.” In the final analysis, the film came through strongly that you’ve got to work at relationships…they don’t just happen.
There were some sexual scenes I wish they’d left out–as I’ve said before, I tend to ignore such things, but in this case it really seemed unnecessary to show as much as they did. So I’ll give that as a definite caveat this time. But there’s plenty of good here, especially in the good acting turns from Braff, Barrett, Bilson (who seems a little flip for most of this, but is actually just being her character…wait for the moment when Michael tells her about the baby), and Tom Wilkinson and Blythe Danner as Jenna’s parents. Although Danner’s hair is seriously scary. And also, we need to set these people up with some marriage counselors, stat. It blows my mind that people jump straight from frustration to leaving without even trying to talk with each other…well, I get it a little bit, given my own avoidy tendencies. But when you’ve been with someone for years, and you both clearly love each other (or the little betrayals wouldn’t matter so much) how could you just give up without trying all available avenues first?
Did I mention the music is awesome?
(I post this with trepidation, as I’ve already discussed procrastination-via-blogging with my parents, and now I’m adding procrastination-via-moviegoing to the mix. But I swear, everything is done now, except reading for Tuesday and Wednesday! I’m golden.)