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On prom night, at a posh hotel, Bea (Isabelle Fuhrman) gets dumped by her insensitive boyfriend Dave (Evan Hofer) and doesn’t take it well. Her childhood friend Andy (Kyle Allen), an aspiring photojournalist, is secretly in love with her but is too shy to tell her. While she tries to deal, kept at the party by her gal pal, Andy does his best to be seen, and reminds her of how close they once were. Meanwhile, another couple, Drew (Justin Chatwin) and Elizabeth (Anna Camp), both in their mid-thirties, are in a marriage in trouble, a matter of trust testing their estranged relationship.
As the evening progresses, the four have encounters with each other as the older ones offer advice and the younger ones inspire memories. As the teens gets kicked out of the party when Andy comes to defend Bea’s honor, Drew and Elizabeth rehash issues that are wearing them down, she unsure she wants to maintain what she feels as run its course, even as he continues to charm his way to keeping them talking. All the while communications between the four reflect each other, for better or worse.
Written and directed by Minhal Baig, 1 Night is a dialogue-heavy journey that begins with a curious narration that implies an actual trip through time, more than once, hinting to the common wonder in many who desire to go back and try again. It’s an intriguing sci-fi start that is quickly abandoned as metaphorical as the film shifts to the four characters, all in differing states of emotional pain, each confronting it as the couples, one new and one old, reach hurdles that are difficult to get over. The setting provides the stage for the teens to begin, which is the same place the older couple started years earlier and have returned to in hope of remembering why they fell in love. As the same places within the hotel are visited and revisited by each pair, we see the moments of one set that could be memories for them later, and the memories of the other that have become tarnished in time.
The film is conversationally-driven as the couples share and argue and grow. For Bea and Andy, it is about exploration and discovery, the feeling like everything is new while Drew and Elizabeth struggle to overcome a recent period of separation they are shared where something Drew did in Argentina keeps her at bay, as they consider reconciling. All the while we sense there is a greater connection between these couples, especially the night wears on and the outside world seems to disappear.
More like a filmed stage play than movie in may respects, the movie is a gentle experience, with lilting piano music and few conflicts. For those in either age group watching, there will be things to think about, and Baiin inserts an ambiguity about what the narration alluded to at the start with and how it all ends, though that feels a bit forced in a hurried finish that wraps it up neatly. A brief experience, 1 Night is nonetheless an intriguing one, certainly different if not uninspiring, one that has lots to say but not always effective in doing so.
Movie description: 1 Night is a 2017 drama about two couples who discover much about who they are, one reminding the other of what it was like long ago
Director(s): Minhal Baig
Actor(s): Anna Camp, Justin Chatwin, Isabelle Fuhrman