Austin Film Fest Review: One Night

Debut feature examines love from two vantage points

Dabbling in magical realism, Minhal Baig’s One Night toys with the theme of traveling back in time. The idea that the past is simultaneously more simple and more magical is both questioned and contemplated throughout the film, which follows two couples over the course of prom night.

Within the walls of a Los Angeles hotel, the debut feature from writer/director Baig weaves a compelling story and honest look at love and relationships – from falling in to falling apart. High school seniors Bea (Isabelle Fuhrman) and Andy (Kyle Allen) are accidentally thrown together when their prom ends and the afterparty begins. Elizabeth (Anna Camp of Pitch Perfect) and Drew (Justin Chatwin), on the other hand, are young adults who seem to have mistakenly chosen the hotel hosting that same prom to rehash (or repair?) their failing marriage.

The juxtaposition of watching two people becoming a couple – the enchantment of being 17 and completely awed by another human – with the cold realities of a struggling long-term relationship offers viewers a glimpse at relationship reality. Hollywood is forever obsessed with the happily ever after ending, but life and love are far too complex to allow for a simple skipping off into the sunset – or sunrise – as the case may be. One Night doesn't hold back from this. Relationships are hard work and sometimes love simply cannot overcome the mundane difficulties of life.

Though very beautifully weaved, at times the film’s dialogue seems unsure of itself, specifically between Elizabeth and Drew. Are they actors acting like they're acting or are they two adults trying to play make believe? At first it's hard to tell, perhaps because Baig wasn't entirely sure either. But as the story unravels, the actors and the script find their footing. Bea and Andy, however, never falter in convincing the audience of their 17-year-old, smart-ass naivete. Together they manage to steal the show and infuse the film with hope. In the warm light of day, One Night is an endearing look at what makes and what keeps a relationship alive.


The Austin Film Festival runs Thu., Oct. 13, through Thu., Oct. 20. See www.austinfilmfest.com for schedule and info. Follow our continuing coverage of the fest at www.austinchronicle/austin-film-festival.

READ MORE
More Austin Film Festival
Walter Hill, Keenen Ivory Wayans for AFF
Walter Hill, Keenen Ivory Wayans for AFF
Writer-centric film festival awarding boundary-busting pioneers

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 7, 2017

Austin Film Festival to Honor Kenneth Lonergan
AFF to Honor Kenneth Lonergan
Manchester by the Sea Oscar winner named Distinguished Screenwriter

Jennifer Murphy, June 28, 2017

More by Sarah Marloff
FY 2018 Budget to Help Rape Survivors
FY 2018 Budget to Help Rape Survivors
City will provide one-time $50,000 allocation to train therapists

Sept. 22, 2017

Imagine Austin With CodeNEXT
Imagine Austin With CodeNEXT
Draft two brings big changes, more questions

Sept. 22, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Austin Film Festival 2016, Austin Film Festival, AFF, One Night

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)