This film is wildly underrated. And I fear it will remain so, though I hope it doesn’t. The fact is, it deserves much wider recognition than it has so far received—yet it’s title is doing it no favors. While some reviewers go too far when placing it on the same level as “Before Sunrise” (1995), it is much closer to a true romance like Linklater’s classic or Casablanca than it is to the cinematic dreck that has passed for “romantic comedy” over the last ten plus years.
The writing is very good and the story is believable enough: these are two decent, professional, middle-aged people who meet (by chance) in a distant city and decide (by whim, by decency, and perhaps also by desire?) to help each other out of the uncomfortable circumstances that have drawn each of them there. (So they will pose, just for the weekend, as each other’s significant other.) But by spending time not only *with* each other but *in* each other’s lives (albeit incognito), they see in each other what is lacking in their own lives, in the otherwise respectable paths they have chosen. All this makes for something surprisingly thoughtful and deep. And in this whimsical-turned-deep contrivance of a weekend, they bond.
Besides all this, the film is filled, of course, with comic relief, character development, insightful turns and deftly naturalistic dialogue (yes, vaguely reminiscent of “Before Sunrise” at points). But what ultimately makes this movie is the performance of the two leads, Natasha Little and Rupert Penry-Jones: together they carry the film, and it is hard to give either enough credit for the work each turns in here. To be sure, the script was very good and the production deft. But Penry-Jones and Little are so good that one wonders what they could have created if this film had had the same resources as, say, one of Linklater’s. (And, alas, if only the film had a better title!) Nonetheless, a very good movie in a genre that tends to produce very bad ones. Five stars & worth the time!