6 February 2016 | paul-allaer
"Days and nights in the grip of a memory"
"Days and Nights" (2013 release; 91 min.) brings the story of an extended family's happenings over one weekend. As the movie opens, we see a couple meeting up at Grand Central in New York, to take the train out to the family's countryside compound. Along the way we learn that we are into the 1984 Memorial Day weekend. Upon arriving at the countryside, we get to know more members of the extended family and friends. To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see it for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the directing debut of actor Christian Camargo, who also wrote the script (loosely based on/inspired by The Seagull by Anton Chekhov), and stars as Peter, the boyfriend of Elizabeth (the couple we see at Grand Central). The voice-over at the beginning of the movie mentions something about "days and nights in the grip of a memory", and I thought, hmmm, this might be interesting. Alas, I couldn't have been further from the truth. As the various scenes unfold, you start to get that uneasy feeling that what you are watching makes little sense, and whatever sense it does make, doesn't matter as you cannot make an emotional connection to any of these characters. This is very much an ensemble cast, actually an ensemble all-star cast. What a huge waste of talent! Here is William Hurt, in the role of Elizabeth's older brother Herb, and frankly Hurt is just creepy in this performance. There is English actress Juliet Rylance as Eva (Mrs. Camargo in real life). And biggest waste of all, we have Allison Janney (as Elizabeth), who looks clueless as to what she needs to do, desperately waiting for some direction. There is a scene pretty early on, where Eva and Elizabeth's son Eric (played by Ben Whishaw) put on an after-dinner multi-media live performance of some sort that is as wacky as it is mystifying. I knew from that moment on that this movie was in serious trouble. I lasted until over just an hour, and simply had had enough. An hour of my life I'll never get back.
I picked up this movie while browsing at my local library for something good to watch. I see a lot of movies, and when I saw this, and saw all the acting talent assembled on the DVD's front jacket, I thought to myself "This is interesting. How come I've not heard of this movie before?". Well, now I know. I cannot recommend this movie in good consciousness to anyone, sorry.