In Search of a Midnight Kiss (15)

Written and directed by Alex Holdridge
Screening at FACT from 20th June 2008

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

I usually steer well clear of romcoms but this one is very different from the run of the mill dross churned out in the name of screen entertainment.

Directed by young filmmaker Alex Holdridge - who, on the evidence of this highly impressive film, looks destined to have a lucrative career - and using an appealing soft-focus black and white, it is basically a homage to Los Angeles.

A lot of the movie - shot in only sixteen days on a small budget - concentrates on areas of LA, particularly the backstreets, you don't normally see in LA films, and this gives it a beguiling character.

'Beguiling' is also the term you could use to describe the bittersweet romance between Wilson (Scoot McNairy), a loner and a struggling writer, and Vivian (Sara Simmonds), who is an aspiring actress.

They met on a blind date on New Year's Eve after Wilson, in search of a partner, described himself as a misanthrope in his appeal for friendship! Vivian, perhaps intrigued by his description of the word (she admitted she had to look it up in a dictionary to find out what it meant) answers his appeal.

They meet up in a French cafe, and Vivian comes across as callous about men, but underneath that hard exterior there lies a very sensitive soul, which is evident throughout the film.

Wilson, on the other hand, is maybe too honest about himself - being without a girlfriend for five years as was the case with him does tend to make one not see the world through rose tinted specs. This propensity to speak from the heart leads to him clashing with Vivian on a number of occasions but love will out...

Describing too much of the film, notably the last forty minutes or so, would spoil it for those yet to see it. Except to say that it was very original, true-to-life and heartfelt. A wee little gem.

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