'1 Night': Film Review

Tiffany Roohani
An earnest misfire of a relationship film.
2/10/2017

A couple whose marriage is on the rocks try to relive the relationship's high points in Minhal Baig's debut.

Can time travel repair a marriage on the rocks? That's the question that opens 1 Night, a relationship drama whose take on temporal manipulation won't be recognized by many viewers as either science fiction or reality-based therapeutic role playing. The writing/directing debut of Minhal Baig enlists experienced actors but has little idea what to do with them, making a hash of its intended meditation on the compromises required by long-term relationships. Commercial prospects are dim.

Anna Camp and Justin Chatwin play Liz and Drew, who evidently have booked a night at a hotel in order to pretend they're strangers, rediscovering the attraction they once felt for each other. But as the two of them separately make conversation with two high schoolers who are there for their prom (Bea and Andy, played by Isabelle Fuhrman and Kyle Allen), we're encouraged to deduce that (despite looking nothing like their elders) these kids are somehow Liz and Drew's past selves, experiencing the first night of their relationship for the benefit of the older duo.

After hinting a bit at this conceit, the movie splits its focus between the two couples, having more success with the teens. While these two navigate a familiar dynamic — he's the nice-but-awkward guy with a crush, she's uninterested and wounded by a breakup with a jerk — the grown-ups are wandering around the neighborhood in what amounts to a pothole-strewn trip down Memory Lane. Baig's dialogue means to be elliptical and intriguing, but feels arbitrarily fractured, its hints about betrayals and shortcomings barely adding up. Camp and Chatwin appear invested, but Baig strands them, giving them no credible pegs on which to hang their disillusioned angst. Camp, as the movie's narrator and emotional guidepost, is served especially badly here.

Production company: Canosa Productions
Distributor: Level 33
Cast: Anna Camp, Justin Chatwin, Isabelle Fuhrman, Kyle Allen
Director-screenwriter: Minhal Baig
Producers: Kerry Barden, Hans Canosa, Marius A. Markevicius
Director of photography: Jesse M. Feldman
Production designer: Emmy Haskett
Costume designer: Antoinette Messam
Editor: Jonathan Dillon
Composer: Sean Giddings
Casting director: Kerry Barden

75 minutes

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