The Jewish Chronicle
An eternal affair and a dull one
TWO WEDDING guests form a budding romance in this Groundhog Day-esque romantic comedy starring Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine) and Cristin Milioti (The Wolf of Wall Street). Directed by Max Barbakow, Palm Springs also features a hilarious turn from Oscar winner JK Simmons.
Samberg plays Nyles, a guest at plush destination wedding in Palm Springs alongside his girlfriend (Meredith Hagner). Seemingly bored with the whole affair, Nyles forms a bond with Sarah (Milioti), the bride’s sister who feels as out of place as he does. The two soon hit it off and end up drunkenly kissing on the beach.
Things turn surreal when the next day Sarah wakes up with a strong sense of déjà vu, soon realising that she is reliving the same day.
It soon transpires that Nyles has been reliving the same day for an eternity and has somehow dragged her into his living nightmare.
It’s no secret that the romantic comedy genre has suffered a setback recently with endless lazy remakes and stale narratives. Luckily for us, Palm Springs has managed to successful transcend the usual contrivances to create a truly exhilarating story.
Surprisingly, the film is able to tackle some pretty hefty existential issues, all the while offering up a genuinely heartening love story.
Samberg’s irresistible blend of acerbic charm and humour and Milioti’s girl next door likability go a long way towards making them one hugely watchable duo.
Overall, Barbakow and his cowriter Andy Siara have given us a funny, self-aware and beautifully layered comedy full of laugh out loud moments as well as thought provoking dilemmas.
Cert: 15 ★★✩✩✩
Set in 1930s Czechoslovakia, director Julius Ševcík’s new film The Affair is based on Simon Mawer’s Booker Prize nominated novel The Glass Room. Adapted by Andrew Shaw, this war-time drama centres around two women linked by a lifelong friendship and an extraordinary house.
In the 1930s, Liesel (Hanna Alström) and Viktor (The Square’s Claes Bang) Landauer, a wealthy newlywed couple enlist the famous architect Von Abt to build a house for them. The Landauers’ house — based on the Villa Tugendhat — is soon regarded as the nec plus ultra in minimalist architecture.
When the Nazis invade Czechoslovakia, Liesel and Viktor, who is Jewish, have no other option but to flee the country with their children in tow. Meanwhile Liesel’s best friend Hana (Carice van Houten) who is also married to a Jew and who has romantic feelings for her best friend, stays behind and faces the horrors of occupation, first by the Nazis and later at the hands of the Soviet forces.
While the architectural aspects of the story make for a very pretty movie to look at, The Affair often feels like a series of stills from an interiors magazine rather than a movie about one of the most harrowing episodes in European history. Ševcík’s adaptation fails to capture Mawer’s beautifully subtle and evocative writing. Although peppered with some decent performances throughout, especially from Hanna Alström, The Affair, unfortunately for all involved, is an overlong, drab and meandering mess.