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STEPHEN'S MOVIE GUIDE

The Last Kiss  rating

Review: written 2007

A minor masterpiece of character study

While Paul Haggis (screenwriter) is best known now for Crash, Million Dollar Baby and other high profile movies, amongst all that came this adaptation of an Italian film - and what a gem it has turned out to be. This will most definitely not be to everyone's taste.. it is not the rom-com the advertising would have you believe. It is a study of relationships.

Zach Braff plays the 30 year old in a relationship with a woman he adores (Jacinda Barrett). She has just become pregnant. This faces him with the realisation that life has no surprises left and he is thrown into angst. At this point, a young beautiful and sexual woman (Rachel Bilson - a revelation) comes into his life, tempting him to take the easy route away from growing up. Alongside this we have his friends, in different stages of relationships all facing tough choices - one, Casey Affleck, has a hen-pecking wife with young child, and he is trying to decide whether to stay or not. Another is a serial womaniser facing reality that it might be time to change his ways, and another is recovering from a painful break up.

Crucially, the performances are all absolutely perfect - Zach Braff proves he can do something a little deeper, and Jacinda Barrett is absolutely brilliant. Every scene has a feeling of truth - you never feel like you are catching them playing at acting. Also giving the perspective from the other end of a marriage are Tom Wilkinson and Blythe Danner, who after 30 years together are having their own issues.

All the stories reflect the mistakes and false starts life brings into relationships, and how they can force us into a more mature place on the other side of those mistakes.

It's a talking heads movie, which does not look for any neat solution and traditional boy gets girl scenarios.. but it is a heartfelt look at real life relationships, and anyone over 30 should be able to find at least one of the characters they can relate to.

Highly recommended for those that like a talking head intelligent relationship movie that stays as far away from schmaltz as possible.





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