Last Night, Keira Knightly

<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>

Directed by Massy Tadjedin. Starring Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, Eva Mendes, Guillaume Canet.

Just the night before watching this very topical piece of drama I was discussing with a good friend of mine about marriage, relationships and fidelity. About how nowadays it’s so much easier to stray, to have good reason to, to forgive and maybe even just ignore it. Last Night touches upon all these issues that it would seem more and more people nowadays are wrangling with or simply justifying considering there are fewer reasons to be happy with each passing year on planet Earth.

From the get go of this movie, Joanna (Keira Knightley) and her husband Michael (Sam Worthington) seem like a couple that’s used to each other. It’s how people get after years of marriage, but not comfortable, more taken-for-granted, going-with-the-motions. Trying seems to be something they’re counting on to make the relationship last. But Jo’s jealousy stemming from insecurity and self-doubt about her own love for Michael set off a sequence of events that lead both of them into other people’s arms.

Eva Mendes plays Michael’s voluptuous new co-worker Laura, who Jo is not just a bit concerned about but Worthington’s character, used to his wife’s constant nagging and insecurity, seems to have mastered the technique of soothing her nerves and saving himself from another marathon argument. He’s not guilty of cheating. Not yet at least. Then off he goes on a work trip with Laura.

While the cat’s away… Alex (Guillaume Canet) from Paris visits New York and looks up his old flame Jo who is more than pleased to see him. Ahhh… so much for all the lectures on cheating, we know where this is headed. Well maybe.

Maybe it’s that I’ve had a tumultuous set of past relationships and know quite a few married women who are having or have had relationships with other men (yes, married too) but this film just spoke to me. The subtle emotions, the interplay of chemistry and hidden desires backed up by a mesmerising soundtrack of instrumental music make a simple enough premise more than intriguing. Who will finally stray? Who will resist temptation? Who is the hypocrite? And are most relationships nowadays doomed to recreate this all-too-familiar scenario?

Knightley smiles a lot (when Alex is around) and plays a girl on the edge quite well. Eva Mendes can seduce me any day and she’s all woman for the part. Sam (Terminator Salvation) Worthington is his usual stone-faced self but it fits the character. Guillaume Canet is charm personified compared to Michael’s character and his Alex is far more complicated and interesting.

Director/writer Massy Tadjedin hasn’t gotten great reviews for this, her third film. But let me tell you it is a gem that sometimes delicately and sometimes passionately, but always honestly shows you the complexities of relationships in a world that has, for many reasons some even justified, lost the plot of love.

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