mp’s rating: 4/5
I have to say that I don’t really like the storyline, yet it is true and realistic at the same time.
And I hate the fact that the story may indeed happen (countless times, even) in some families.
Last Night tells the story about a married couple, Michael and Joanna, when they were spending one night apart from each other because Michael was sent on a business trip to Philadelphia. It depicts how the man (Michael) was seduced by his colleague, Laura, during the business trip and being unfaithful physically, while the woman (Joanna) met her ex-boyfriend (Alex) and being unfaithful emotionally.
It is indeed a very rich movie, and I have a sense of accomplishment in watching it. Why? I got to analyse the characters and read between the lines. It is that good.
(spoilers alert, this is my analysis on watching the movie. I really hope you have watched the movie before reading this)
Joanna (the married woman)
It is quite transparent that the star of the movie is indeed Joanna. After several years of marriage, Joanna and Michael live in a very good apartment in New York. My guess is, that Michael is a successful businessman. She met Michael, her husband, in college, and they got married young.
In terms of career, Joanna is a writer. She has published her book once, but it didn’t go well. In fact, it may have been so disastrous that she finds it hard to get up again. People say that it’s not her who’s at fault, yet it’s her publisher. But I think, Joanna has taken it so hard that she feels incompetent in her writing. Plus, I don’t think her husband supports her well. In time she feels insecure with her career, and with her marriage. She loved Michael, of course, but she was wondering about the dying passion that they once shared.
Michael (the married man)
Michael, is quite a successful businessman. He loves Joanna, but he too is wondering what he does wrong, and since when his marriage becomes dull and merely a routine. He always thought of himself as a devoted and committed man, and that he would never have cheated on his wife.
But I guess, he is bored, and he feels empty. And Joanna never really does love him the way he wants to be loved.
Laura (the one who seduced Michael)
Laura is the character that represents all of us. Once in a while, we really like to put ourselves into a position where we know the right thing to do, but we don’t really want to do it and instead we start to ‘ask for signs’ from the universe and let it decides for us. She is seducing Michael, and it is clear that she is attracted to Michael (no, not love, they barely know each other), but they have that ‘fling’, you know.
She had a partner once, but he died. And she wants to fill her emptiness inside, but she just doesn’t know with what. She wants something real, and quick. And during these times, it feels good to be noticed. Michael notices her. And soon she starts craving for more attention.
Of course, Laura is the one who seduces Michael, but Michael doesn’t really run from the temptation. Instead he plays the game; he wants to prove to himself that he could play around and not get seduced. But he is wrong. Michael does sleep with Laura that night. Although he doesn’t really love her. No, he is just attracted to her physically. And so does Laura. She just wants something to fill her emptiness.
Alex (Joanna’s ex-boyfriend)
On the other hand, Alex, a writer who lived in Paris with no sign of settling down, has loved Joanna dearly and he couldn’t let her go, even though she is already married. Joanna, too, loves Alex. Maybe even more than she loves Michael.
Alex and Joanna got together before Joanna got married, yet only for a short time. Joanna was visiting Paris to write her book, and she met Alex there. They fell in love. And it was love to the fullest.
Yet, what a girl wants, what every girl really wants, is to be fought for. Alex didn’t fight for Joanna. Even though he loves her, Alex, at that time, was too focused on his career rather than her, and Joanna decided that Alex wouldn’t be the one who fight for her. And she gave her up. She made her decision. A decision that left her wondering everyday of the question, “what if”.
When suddenly Joanna met Alex once again, it stirs up the fire that she doesn’t really share with Michael. For Alex cares for her. And there are still some unanswered questions about their relationship. And he loves her. But they didn’t sleep together, for Joanna is committed in her passionless marriage. She may have given her heart to somebody else, but her body belongs to her husband. Her husband, on the other hand, does the exact opposite thing.
Joanna, Michael, Laura, and Alex.
There is no perfect couple in this equation. Even Joanna and Alex, in my opinion, would not be a perfect couple even though they are together. Why? Because what I picked up from the movie is that Joanna loves the image that she makes about Alex, and so does Alex. Yes, Alex does regret that he didn’t go after Joanna. And Joanna regrets that she gave him up. But it would not be a healthy relationship as well. They have passion and love, but I can’t really see the commitment.
Joanna and Michael, on the other end, have the commitment, but have lost the passion and love. Saying ‘I love you’ become a routine, and it is said so easily without really thinking about the meaning. They are comfortable with each other, that’s it. As a couple, they are the ones who look okay from the outside, but from the inside, there are so much things that they don’t really share together. They have the money, but there were no support for each other, especially from Michael to Joanna. If they want to work on their relationship, it may work. But it’s a long way to go.
Michael and Laura, as I said before, are just having a fling. Of course, Laura is hurt when she finds out the next day (after they slept together) that Michael is going back to his wife. But she knows that is coming. She is not sad, I guess, she is more to being hurt. Being hurt once again of wanting to have something that she couldn’t have.
And where did I get all these? From the actors and actresses, for they were just perfect. The acting is superb. Just one word, superb. You know, from Joanna’s expression of saying ‘I love you’ to Michael, and the way she kissed him, is so much different from the way Joanna was seeing Alex. Her eyes sparkled, she smiled widely, she kissed him passionately, and it was clear and she wanted to be with Alex. Her eyes told me so, so did her body language. And Alex did the same. Smiling gently to Joanna, looking deeply into her eyes, and I could even see the pain in his eyes when Joanna said that “she gave her up”.
Michael and Laura, were not having love. Why? Their body language. They just have lust. The fling. That was it. The way Laura looked at Michael, they are not the eyes of a woman falling in love. They are the eyes of a woman wanting to be someone. The way Michael looked at Laura is also the same, he just wanted to be physically intimate with her. Nothing else.
Although the ending is open ended (it is not told how the couples are doing after the night), the last scenes captured my heart so dearly. Laura, being told that Michael was going home, didn’t shed a single tear. She just looked blank, as if she knew what was happening and you know, take a deep breath, and “okay”, I’d move on. Michael, even though he said that he’s going to regret his decision of cheating on his wife, didn’t even give a single hint of remorse. He felt guilty, of course, and he wanted to make things right. But he didn’t really think it was that big deal. I guess, because he thought that he didn’t ‘cheat’ on her on his commitments and love, he just cheated with his body.
Alex, however, reminisced about his relationship with Joanna, and the things that could have happened if they were together. He looked at her pictures, and some flashback scenes were shown. And he cried when remembering all that, while smiling at the same time. It shows how much he loves her, and how he wishes he can rewind the time and fight for her.
Joanna, also reminisced her time with Alex, and shed tears. She didn’t feel guilty towards her husband because she didn’t really ‘do anything wrong’ physically. You know, for a woman, her heart and emotion is hers alone. It is her freedom, and her thoughts are her heaven.
Last Night is a really beautiful movie. You could feel that the acting is genuine and sincerely done. My heart aches the most for Alex, although he didn’t fight for her in the past. Because he loves her. He really does. He supports Joanna, and he respects her.
Yet I’m also aching for all the characters.
I couldn’t really blame Joanna for still loving Alex, for Michael didn’t fulfill her emotional needs (and women are emotional beings).
I couldn’t really blame Laura for seducing Michael, for she was feeling hurt herself, and it was Michael who plays with fire.
I couldn’t really blame Michael for his wife’s stolen heart to Alex and as a result seeking something to fill that emptiness as well.
I couldn’t really blame Alex for not fighting for Joanna at first because we always know how precious something is for us when we have lost them.
And I can’t erase Alex’s expression when he cried over reminiscing about Joanna. He smiled at the memory, but cried at the truth. I can’t imagine his hurt, his pain and loss, his regret of not fighting hard enough, his deep love, and his wish to have another chance. I just can’t erase that face from my mind.
I hope, that we would never lost something that we hold dearly in life. That we always have that feeling of first love towards those we love, that we always have the commitment, both physically and emotionally, and that we always fight for everything that’s worth fighting for. I hope that we would run from temptations instead of playing with fire. I hope we would choose all our choices wisely, and rightly.
I hope for everyone’s happiness.