About Last Night... (1986)
Last Night had Moore Highs than Lowes
Right! and my job is to break their spirit. That is what kindergarten is all about. The Germans invented it, think about it. - Joan
"About Last Night..." may now be 25 years old but it is as good to watch now as it was back in the 80s. Why it's still so good to watch is that whilst it goes from humour to romance and on to drama before returning to humour the storyline embraces real life and the fears of those who fall in love. As such it's like a rollercoaster ride as it takes us through the story of Danny and Debbie as they meet, fall in love, and move in together but then struggle with the whole living together side of things providing laughs and tears along the way. And whilst "About Last Night..." most certainly isn't perfect with some terrible dialogue being one of the various issues it has its moments of greatness, a classy camera shot which just wows you and makes up for the various negatives.
Danny (Rob Lowe - Youngblood) and Bernie (James Belushi - The Man with One Red Shoe) are both happily single, enjoying playing the field, telling each other about their previous nights exploits and one night stands. But when Danny meets Debbie (Demi Moore - St. Elmo's Fire) that all changes as he falls for her and she for him. Before long they decide to move in together much to the annoyance of Bernie and Debbie's best friend Joan (Elizabeth Perkins - Must Love Dogs) who thinks it won't last. All's well to start with but soon both Danny and Debbie discover that being in love and living together is much harder than they thought especially when all the mundane ness of doing coupley things start to take their toll.
Although it is never stated "About Last Night..." basically covers the year in the life of Danny and Debbie as they meet, fall head over heels for each other and move in together before then struggling with the whole living together side of things. It does make it almost a concentrated series of events especially as the story jumps occasionally from one episode to another but it is also real in what it is conveying. Watching Debbie fall so in love with Danny that she ends up ignoring her friends is so true to life and so is the fact that once they move in together they discover that they actually know little about each other having taken the decision after a brief physical romance.
And it goes on with more episodes in their year relating to romance in real life, such as past flames coming up to make for awkward moments and those periods of uneasy silence as there is nothing to say. As such whilst "About Last Night..." may seem like a life time of events squeezed together in just one year it manages to keep them all very real.
Being a movie about real life may sound like "About Last Night..." should be a heavy drama but director Edward Zwick cleverly takes us through the story with different emphasis. In the early parts of the movie where Debbie and Danny are happy and single it's all about laughs highlighting the freeness of being single. Then in the early throws of romance the emphasis shifts to sexiness as Danny and Debbie enjoy various sexual trysts, all of which are erotic and beautifully shot. But then as their lives progress it becomes romantic and fun as we watch them experiencing the initial joy if living together. Then as the realisation that living together is not all that is seems the drama kicks in as do the arguments. This transition of styles taking us from humour to drama makes it all feel so right, so believable and entertaining to watch.
Now whilst all of this is good it has to be said that "About Last Night..." has its flaws most notably the dialogue which occasionally veers towards the cheesy when it should be powerful and emotional. It does spoil things because in an argumentative scene which should be full of impact a poor bit of dialogue ends up making you laugh. But whilst there are negatives there are some great positives and most notably some beautiful camera work. The loving intimate moments between Danny and Debbie ooze warmth and a shot of a naked Demi Moore half lit by natural light half covered in shadow is spectacular. And there are plenty of other great camera shots which take "About Last Night..." to another level, making it more than an average movie.
A big reason why "About Last Night..." works is in the casting of Rob Lowe and Demi Moore as Danny and Debbie. Yes there are moments of shaky acting and silences which feel like they are searching for their lines but for the most what they deliver is believable. When they are going through the early scenes you do get a real sense that there is love between them yet when things go wrong later on the emotion they deliver in their arguments feels so real as if both are drawing on their own experiences. And for a movie which calls for them to act intimately in various sex scenes not only does it feel right but it is both erotic and sensual making it more than just cheap titillation when you see Demi Moore naked or Rob Lowe just clad in a towel.
Lowe and Moore may be central to everything but the casting of James Belushi as Danny's friend Bernie Litgo and Elizabeth Perkins as Debbie's friend Joan is clever. Both provide plenty of humour, some occasionally a little too forced, but at the same time provide that dose of reality as they are left out in the cold when Danny and Debbie become so wrapped up in each other.
What this all boils down to is that "About Last Night..." is still a remarkably good movie despite being 25 years old. It manages to be entertaining delivering fun and romance whilst also grasping on to reality as we watch the real life issues which Danny and Debbie encounter as they fall in love. It's not perfect but Rob Lowe and Demi Moore work well together and some great cinematography makes it very memorable and not just for the sex scenes.
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