Meet Me in Montenegro
A comedy centered on a failed American writer who enters into an affair after a chance encounter with a European dancer.
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★★★½ review by Jonathan White on Letterboxd
TIFF 2014 Film #6
Reason for pick: director Alex Holdridge, In Search of a Midnight Kiss
My wife swears that I’ve seen In Search of a Midnight Kiss, but I can’t remember a thing about it for the life of me. What I find hard to believe is that when she described it, I was sure to have loved the romantic quirkyism she described.
This is Holdridge’s follow up film, seven years later. What’s it about? A filmmaker who hasn’t been able to get a film made in 7 years. A warning to all those allergic, this tale is as indie and quirky and clichéd as they come; but it’s also charmingly neurotic and genuinely heartfelt, even when it wears its heart on its sleeve.
What surprised me, aside from the obvious seven year drought filmmaker , and Holdridge playing the leading role, is that this is a quasi-autobiographical story of Holdridge and how he met his now partner, Linnea Saasen. Knowing that gives the film an added authenticity that reminds me of Linklater and Before Sunrise.
The secondary romantic subplot, while nicely rendered by a disarmingly funny Rupert Friend and sharp-as-a-tack German actress Jennifer Ulrich as Holdridge’s Berlin friends, isn’t as successful . It’s not their fault, I think Saasen and Holdridge just didn’t put as much care into their story arc, which seemed to have an over-rushed conclusion.
In the end, Meet Me in Montenegro is completely engaging quirky fluff with poignancy that only can come from true life true love. It rewards the audience with what they want to see, and I hope the audience rewards this little indy couple who’ve spent the last three years of their lives toiling over their baby.
★★★★ review by TheShrimp on Letterboxd
Considering that In Search of a Midnight Kiss is one of the best movies I've ever seen and I go the the Balkans once a year to visit my girlfriend's family, causing me to fall in love with the whole peninsula again every year, this was definitely a no-brainer for me.
I even had to make some concessions to see it, but it was certainly worth overpaying to get my hands on the DVD, next to waiting a whole month before it even arrived.
Meet Me in Montenegro is about the protagonist not getting over falling in love with a woman, going to the Balkans, only to be left stranded in Montenegro with a letter ending the relationship.
He then meets her again in Berlin while feeling down about love, drinking too much, and being unmotivated as a writer.
The start of the movie is a bit predictable at first, but then it moves towards exploring two complicated relationships at once and their young millennial and semi-polygamous lifestyle slowly transitioning towards a more 'mature' steady relationship of people in their late 20s. This is a theme mumblecore loves to explore, but often isn't given as much attention as it is here.
Alex Holdridge certainly seems to explore his own transition when it comes to relationships within the movie, but also his own career as a unknown filmmaker, making it a very personal film.
The movie's story is a bit of a cliché, and the plot progression goes exactly where you expect, that's why the movie's beauty comes from the acting more than anything else.
The comedy is also not always the best, often a bit immature at moments that could've been powerful emotional scenes.
Some of the scenes that are supposed to really leave an impact end up feeling a bit forced, missing its target.
Sadly as much as the trailer made it seem like the movie takes place in Montenegro, it's actually Berlin the movie is about, even after the movie indicates that they will go to Montenegro again.
This often makes me think that the better movie is the one that has already happened and we only see in passing flashbacks, really giving force to last half of the movie rather than the first.
The movie's technical aspects are nothing special unless you are familiar with Holdridge's other film, and I'm not ashamed to admit that I liked the way it is shot mostly because it made me nostalgic for his other film.
The only thing that really caught my eye is that some of the scenes use strange lighting that makes everything look a little airbrushed like a Korean show.
★★★½ review by Scott on Letterboxd
I am a bit of a romantic soul, so this film really hit me in the right spot. Focusing on a man who goes to Berlin to get his film made, he then encounters the one woman who got away so many years ago. The directors/writers are also the stars and both have a really winning chemistry together that makes a fairly standard love story really sparkle. While the ending is a little contrived and not fully earned in my view, I still feel that the film succeeds more than it fails in managing to charm the heck out of viewers and leave them buzzing with warmth in their hearts. It especially helps that they filmed in some of the finest looking parts of Berlin and the title country of Montenegro.
★★★★ review by J.P. Vitale on Letterboxd
From the director of the romantic classic "In Search of a Midnight Kiss", the movie that single-handedly launched the career of one Scoot McNairy, comes this charming and funny romance that totally washed the icky Nicholas Sparksiness out of my mouth from last night. Ick.
The only thing I didn't entirely love was the subplot with TV's Rupert Friend.
He's good but it feels like a totally different movie.
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