Wednesday, 23 September 2020
The Last Kiss
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Tuesday, 19 September 2006 21:40

Can I just say “Thank goodness for fall”? Finally all of the so-called Summer Blockbusters are over and we have moved on to heartier fare that is a feast for the brain as well as the eyes. I’ve been spoiled with several awesome films in a row - Little Miss Sunshine, Hollywoodland, The Illusionist - A pattern broken only by the disturbingly awful Wicker Man. Now I can add another great film to my must-see list for fall.

The Last Kiss is a brutally honest coming of age story about a guy who seems to have it all, but is left wondering if he is traveling down the right path. What he’s going through would normally be called a “mid-life crisis” except that he’s only thirty years old.

Zach Braff (whose amazing talent was showcased in Garden State) plays Michael, the man in question. He has a great job, fun life-long friends, and an amazing girlfriend (Jacinda Barrett) who is newly pregnant with his child. Life is flowing along nicely in the direction of marriage, home, baby. But Michael looks around and can’t shake the feeling that something is wrong. Is he ready to abandon his carefree youth and grow up?

The answer to his question (or is it the other way around?) comes in the form of Kim (Rachel Bilson), a nineteen-year old college student whose toughest decision is whether or not being a flautist is a plausible career goal. She locks eyes on Michael at a wedding and, girlfriend or not, begins shamelessly flirting with him. He loves Jenna but is irresistibly drawn to Kim and the youthful freedom she represents. Sometimes it takes losing something in order to appreciate what you had.

This film is filled with good points, including a smart, contemporary script by Paul Haggis (Crash) along with Gabriele Muccino who wrote and directed the original Italian version. Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson deliver truly excellent performances as Jenna’s parents who are going through a relationship crisis of their own.

Michael’s friends also play a role, although I would have liked to see them fleshed out a bit more. Each has his own problems including unhappy marriages, a dying father, and well, too many women to sleep with.
Zach Braff and Jacinda Barrett are truly the stars of the show. They have an easy natural chemistry and their scenes are heartfelt and emotional. The physical ease between them translates well to early scenes, while later on Barrett really does an emotional tour-de-force.

Rachel Bilson just didn’t do it for me though, and I found her much too annoying to understand what Braff’s character really feels for her. She does the puppy-dog eyes à la Katie Holmes. This may not be her fault personally, but I wanted to throttle her character in almost every scene! I guess that could be a testament to the emotional power of the film.

The Last Kiss is an engrossing fable that many will relate to. It brings up a lot of good questions, but doesn’t give away the answers. Those will be left up to you to decide. I give The Last Kiss 7 out of 10 stars.