...engaging and discerning culture, as a way of life...

September 17, 2006

The Last Kiss - 7

The film opens with Snow Patrol's song Chocolate. It is a good summary of the major plot developments of the film. And a beautiful song to listen to.

This could be the very minute
I'm aware I'm alive
All these places feel like home

With a name I'd never chosen
I can make my first steps
As a child of 25

This is the straw, final straw in the
Roof of my mouth as I lie to you
Just because I'm sorry doesn't mean
I didn't enjoy it at the time

You're the only thing that I love
It scares me more every day
On my knees I think clearer

Goodness knows I saw it coming
Or at least I'll claim I did
But in truth I'm lost for words

What have I done it's too late for that
What have I become truth is nothing yet
A simple mistake starts the hardest time
I promise I'll do anything you ask...this time

The film uses four friends who are about to turn 30 as the jumping off point to look at the choices and commitment that they come to realize will shape the rest of their lives. Zach Braff plays the main character, Michael, who considers sleeping with another woman, and eventually realizes the absolute stupidity of his doubt. The love he had taken for granted, suddenly became the love worth trying for. But it took doubt to get him toward faith. Trust becomes the harder project. And it must begin with the wisdom of truth-telling. The film ends showing the give and take - the serious playfulness- that all relationships need to have, in order to be sustainable for a lifetime.
I consider this the sequel to Garden State, asking deep questions about relationships and life, for those approaching their later 20's. The questions are slightly different in this film, but worth asking and considering their consequences. This film is adapted from the 2001 Italian film L'Ultimo Bacio by Paul Haggis (Crash, Million Dollar Baby).


John said...

Hi Greg,
How are things? I wanted to say that I enjoy your site and often agree with your take on some films and yet I am incredibly dissapointed with your review of Cool Hand Luke. Based on your rating scale I would lot this film in the 7.5-8 range (knowing that 7 is the highest). I implore you to watch it again, this time not so much as a story of rebellion against authority and not even as "anti-hero" story but watch it as hope and grace. Essentially Luke's character makes the act of grace possible within life and sin. And perhaps the reason why it seems as if you've seen this film before is because since it's release every modern American "Jesus figure" film has tried to, and miserably failed, to live up to Cool Hand Luke. Sorry, I guess I just get really passionate about this film as it's surely on my top 3 most beloved films of all time (I don't reallly know what the other two are). Anyways I hope PITT is treating you well and keep up the good work or watching movies...one day when we are all long dead Filmography will be studied as the art of our time in all those humanities classes.

ps- I still like you even though you may completely disagree with my take on CHL. But look at the scene where he is eating the eggs and he's rocking back and fort on the sink trying to force just a few more. The mise en scene is very thoughtful. Peace.

~greg said...

That is a fair enough critique of my assessment. Part of the problem as you point out is the fact that I saw a lot of films like it, and then went back to the original. It still makes the experience of the film not as great. In the long run, Cool Hand Luke will probably be better to watch than the films I have ranked higher, like this film, The Last Kiss. The subjective aspect of art makes it very hard to get consensus, but opens up a lot of open ended conversation which can be as good, if not better.

If you were teaching the class you might use this film to make the points you mentioned, myself I might use a different film as an example...either way hopefully all involved will have learned something about critically approaching a film, and maybe even seeing it as related to there lived experience.