Sometimes when it comes to indie film darlings it’s difficult to see what all the fuss was about. With The Overnight that’s not too much of an issue, as while it might not quite deserve some of the raves it received following its first festival screenings, it’s still a good movie.
Alex (Adam Scott) and Emily (Taylor Schilling) are a 30-something couple with a kid, who are newly arrived in California. It’s not been an easy move, with stay-at-home dad Alex feeling slightly dislocated and friendless. He randomly meets Kurt (Jason Schwartzman) in the park, who invites Alex and Emily over to his house for the evening.
Once there they meet Kurt’s French wife Charlotte (Judith Godrèche), and Alex and Emily can’t help but feel they may have found some firm friends in the arty, free-thinking, bohemian and seemingly cool couple. As the evening goes on the straitlaced Emily and Alex begin to loosen up – thanks to some liquor and pot – but while Alex feels increasingly free and with his inhibitions falling away, Emily begins to wonder whether Kurt and Charlotte are a bit too freethinking and strange.
However, she may have slightly misjudged the realities of Charlotte and Kurt’s marriage and what they’re really looking for.
The Overnight is a witty look at couples of the cusp of middle-age, where children and everyday life have them wondering what happened to their youth, and whether their future is likely to be staid and dull. Alex and Emily love each other, but each has their own insecurities, such as Alex’s worries that his penis is too small (no matter how much his wife reassures him), while Kurt and Charlotte seem to be free and disinhibited, but may be hiding their own worries and may not be as different to Alex and Emily as they initially seem.
SPOILER ALERT It’s all leading up to what Emily starts thinking will be a wife-swap, but which goes in a more bisexual direction that expected. Again, it would have been easy for the movie to play the situation for laughs and poke fun at two guys kissing for the first time in their lives, but it doesn’t, instead finding an element of calm and truth in the situation. The only thing that’s a shame is that it’s a rare example of a truly bisexual scene that isn’t played for laughs or hyper-fetishized, but it gets cut short. END OF SPOILERS.
There are indeed some strait-laced people out there who will find the events of The Overnight completely crazy and extreme, but whether you do or not, you should be able to relate to the ennui of the central characters, who are reaching out to find their place in a new part of their lives. And it certainly doesn’t hurt having the wonderful Adam Scott and Taylor Schilling as its central couple.
Overall Verdict: A fun, witty and sometimes pretty smart comedy, where a couple pushing their boundaries begins to reveal the worries they have about their regular lives.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac