In Search of a Midnight Kiss is a rollicking comic ride and tender journey though love, sex, and modern romance in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve. Wilson (Scoot McNairy), a twenty-nine-year old guy who has just had the worst year of his life, is new to Los Angeles, has no date, no concrete plans and every intention of locking the doors and forgetting the last year ever happened. That is until his best friend, Jacob (Brian McGuire), browbeats him into posting a personal ad on Craig’s List. When Vivian (Sara Simmonds), a strong-willed woman hell bent on being with the right guy at the stroke of midnight responds, a chaotic, sometimes hilarious, sometimes touching journey through the black and white streets of L.A. begins. In the waning hours of the year, emotional vulnerability and bitterly honest humor seem to be waiting around every corner.
Lovingly photographed in a monochrome that recalls Woody Allen’s Manhattan, this is a slickly scripted rom-com following wannabe scripter Scoot McNairy as he tries to find a date for New Year’s Eve. Having been caught by his housemate masturbating over a Photoshopped image of said housemate’s girlfriend, McNairy advertises for a companion online and spends an idyllic day kvetching around Los Angeles with Sara Simmonds, a chain-smoking blonde who shares his jaundiced view of the world. Their banter is laced with quick wit, but there’s also a real sense of the hard times that have made Simmonds such a tough cookie. Imperfect, but irresistible.
It’s hard to think of a film that’s farther from the bloated mediocrity of a hollywood blockbuster than In Search of a Midnight Kiss. It was crafted by the enterprising writer-director Alex Holdridge with little more than a micro-budget, a charismatic cast, some whip-smart dialogue and the unexpectedly photogenic backdrop of downtown LA in winter. The result is funny, filthy and brutally honest; a romcom that holds up an unforgiving mirror to the internet dating scene then surprises us all with its generous heart. Shot in grainy black and white, the film has something of the scabrous humour and sweet nature of Clerks.
The story is obviously influenced by Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise” and “Before Sunset.” He is thanked in the end credits. Anne Walker, this film’s producer, also produced “Sunrise.” But “In Search of a Midnight Kiss” isn’t a homage or a recycling job. It’s a film with its own organic existence, its own reason for being. It is ultimately a very true and moving story. I came to care about Wilson and Vivian. I hope they had a happy new year.
700MB | 1 h 36 min | 576 x 320 | avi