In Search Of A Midnight Kiss
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Making of; Deleted Scenes; Theatrical Trailer.
FANS of films like Swingers, Before Sunrise and its sequel Before Sunset would do well to seek out In Search of A Midnight Kiss, a bittersweet insight into love, sex and the perils of dating in contemporary LA.
Written and directed by Alex Holdridge and inspired by his own early days in LA spent whilst waiting for the phone to ring, it’s an amusing and sometimes poignant exploration of the lengths some people will go to find companionship on New Year’s Eve.
Wilson (Scoot McNairy) is a 29-year-old guy who has just endured the worst year of his life after having moved to LA and recently broken up with his girlfriend. With no prospects for New Year’s Eve, he’s persuaded by best friend and flatmate Jacob (Brian McGuire) to post a personal ad on dating website, Craig’s List.
By doing so, he meets Vivian (Sara Simmonds), a strong willed woman who is equally intent on being with the right guy at the stroke of midnight. The two of them subsequently spend the next few hours hanging out together as they decide on their compatibility.
Shot in black and white, Holdridge’s film wears its heart on its sleeve throughout: whether exposing its engaging leads to some truly embarrassing and cringe-worthy moments, or dealing with the frustrations and insecurities that come with being alone or in love.
But by keeping it real – sometimes painfully so – it feels far more authentic and emotionally in touch than many of its Hollywood counterparts. Happy endings aren’t always guaranteed and sometimes there are more questions posed than answers.
That said, Holdridge’s observations never seem condescending and his characters never come across as pretentious, while even the most explicit conversation carries some semblance of honesty (such as Jacob’s views on why Wilson should always carry condoms).
The various relationships are never simple, either, and Wilson’s own attempts to start afresh with Vivian’s complete stranger are neatly offset by his flatmate Jacob’s desire to propose to his possibly unfaithful girlfriend (nicely played by Katy Luong).
And yet as serious as some of this gets, there’s also plenty to amuse, especially Wilson and Vivian’s near-encounter with a jealous ex-boyfriend and an opening sequence that’s genuinely embarrassing.
The final scenes, meanwhile, are both heartfelt and moving and help to ensure that the film stays with you for some time afterwards. It’s well worth seeking out this midnight kiss.
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD Release: October 6, 2008