Palm Springs movie director: Max Barbakow
Palm Springs movie cast: Andy Samberg, Cristian Milioti, J K Simmons, Peter Gallagher, Meredith Hagner
Palm Springs movie rating: 4 stars
Wedding, or marriage, if you look at it one way, is a commitment to one’s own time loop. Waking up with the same person every day, mostly in the same bed, to a world that can be boringly familiar — children, tiffin, school bus, work, lunch, dinner, sleep, fight, kiss, make up. Does all of it matter, or none of it? Or is life about finding out that only when nothing matters, does everything?
It’s not a hugely innovative thought, and writers from Albert Camus to Nietzsche have left behind reams on it. However, Palm Springs churns together these ideas, spins them in a time loop, and conceives the one day that our characters are destined to repeat as the one involving a wedding, to give a film that’s effortlessly charming and hearteningly warm.
Samberg and Milioti are, respectively, Nyles and Sarah. He is the boyfriend of one of the bridesmaids. She is the sister of the bride. Both are secondary to the wedding and, in fact, to the people around them. Both have drawn their own conclusions, in own ways, that life therefore has no meaning, we are all alone anyway, and wedding, love etc etc are all fancy names we have given to props to get us through not feeling sad all of the time.
Soon, though, Sarah finds herself stuck in a time warp where she wakes up at the start of her sister’s wedding day, every day. She is there having followed Nyles into a cave, to realise he has been there in that loop, for he has forgotten how long.
Two such people, fond of “drinking and f…ing”, can get into a whole lot of fun together. From flying and crashing planes, to risking bar fights and police arrests, to spending money like there is no tomorrow (there is none).
The science of it is of course secondary, the logic of it even more so. The lapse of time… you better not go there. Thankfully the film realises this, and skims over it when it can’t avoid tackling it.
What it is trying to tell you though is as crystal clear as the light that shines through Sarah’s eyes as they brim over. That, your past and future are only as relevant as your present, what you make of it, who you make it with.
Samberg and Cilioti are both such funny, likeable people that there can’t be two better souls you want to root for. Will Nyles and Sarah stay together? Will this loop last? Their success is they make you realise that the happily everafters only have to start with the happy.