“Last Night” or “How I Learned to Stop Hating Keira Knightley” by Caitlin McGrane

Posted on November 15, 2011

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I really hated Keira Knightley until very recently. Maybe it was that she was so skinny and she made it look effortless, or maybe it was that she got to kiss my tweenage crush, Orlando Bloom. But mostly it’s because she was, as my good friends Dr Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo like to say ‘Ikea Knightley’: wooden as all hell. Then I saw Last Night.

"Last Night" poster.

Ikea (sorry, Keira) plays Jo, a married woman from New York. She’s a writer which means that in the magical film world she has lots of time to wander the streets looking immaculate and living in a swanky apartment. Her husband does something business-y and unknown (he wears suits and goes away on business and everything). Their married life is kinda enviable, lots of casually flung ‘I love you’s here and there (and did I mention the swish apartment?). Then they go to a party, where there is a woman (Laura, played by Eva Mendes) with whom Jo’s husband Michael (Sam Worthington) seems to be flirting. An argument ensues when they get home, but things seem to end OK. Michael leaves on business the next day with said woman (as he is apt to do, being such an important businessman with shit to do), and Jo runs into the best ‘old flame’ EVER – Alex (Guillaume FUCKING Canet) who is in New York for one night.

Quick side note: has anyone else noticed how super duper attractive he is? PHWOARRRRR, and he’s French. Oh good grief.

Anyway, Alex does his saucy, casual, French thing (think arm-touching and smiling – ugh, dreamy!), they agree to meet up later and the rest of the film follows Jo and Alex, and Michael and Laura on their respective nights.

BABES.

It’s a very beautifully scored film (Clint Mansell – musical genius), and the shots of New York are really rather lovely. Most of all, I loved the way that the film takes you on a journey, where the final destination is unknown. See for yourself, obviously, but I was blown away by how involved I became in this film. It is becoming increasingly rare, I’ve found, to see films and not catch on within the first few minutes where you think this might be going (ie. Friends with Benefits / No Strings Attached).

However, I didn’t entirely believe that Jo and Michael could be married. Things seemed quite nice between them, and as you learn more about their relationship I guess you could perhaps understand their awkwardness. But their lives run with crazily improbable smoothness; one exception is where Michael leaves the bottle of wine they bring to a party in the back of a cab (perhaps a moment put in by the film-maker to make us all go ‘Oh yeah, they are human’). But it’s more like ‘Really? How is everywhere they go always so neat? I have been to New York and there are whole blocks that smell of old-man piss’.

Well, hey, this looks like a fun marriage.

That small problem aside, this film made me question whether fidelity is finite. I kept thinking about what I would do in their situations, and I couldn’t find an answer. If you are so lustily attracted to someone (and who wouldn’t be? The cast are really, really ridiculously good looking even by Zoolander standards) why shouldn’t you indulge in a bit of a fling? Marriage is forever, and forever is a long time. This film really explores this issue, and it’s nice to see something that lets you know that not everything is black and white.

Keira and Guillaume are fantastic, and utterly romantically lovely in ways that Sam and Eva aren’t really. Maybe that’s because Sam’s an Aussie-fucking-bloke who don’t need no woman telling him what to do, or maybe it’s the way the characters are drawn.

Ahhhh, the MovieLand writer...

As you might be able to tell, I did a fair bit of thinking after seeing this film, and changed my opinion on some things. Particularly Keira, or Ikea.

Caitlin McGrane is one of You’re Dripping Egg’s contributors. To check out more from her on films, have a read of her Jane Eyre review.

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Posted in: Movies