TMN Movie Review: "The Longest Week"

TMN Movie Review: "The Longest Week"

By Nick Leyland September 04, 2014 04:00PM EDT
60% Review Score: 6 / 10
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Gravitas Ventures
The Longest Week

Rating: PG-13
Length: 86 minutes
Release Date: September 5, 2014
Directed by: Peter Glanz
Genre: Comedy / Drama

“The Longest Week” is a romantic comedy about a rich man who has one of the toughest weeks in history as he goes from having everything he could want to having nothing in the space of seven days. His journey does have an upside though, since he ends up in love at the end of the week.

Conrad Valmont has a lot of money from his rich parents, but he doesn’t have much of purpose in his life. A voice-over by Larry Pine guides the audience through this information immediately upon the film's opening sequence. Conrad is nearly 40, and he’s been unemployed his whole life without even really trying to purse any career at all. His parents then turn his life upside down when they divorce and decide to cut him off. The staff at Conrad’s home at Hotel Valmont in New York evict him and put him out on the street. He loses all of his expense accounts when they are frozen. This forces Conrad to move in with Dylan, a friend who works as a painter and earns a substantial amount of money. Conrad tells his friend that he needs a place to stay since his hotel is under renovation instead of telling him the truth about running out of money. Dylan then tells Conrad about a woman he just met named Beatrice, who is a model and loves novels from the Victorian period. Beatrice turns out to be a woman Conrad already knows from an encounter on the subway. Conrad decides to start going out with Beatrice even though he promised Dylan that he wouldn’t, since Dylan asked him to stay away from her. Conrad and Beatrice then start sleeping together behind Dylan’s back. After Dylan figures out what’s going on, he immediately kicks Conrad out of the apartment. At this point, Conrad moves in with his new girlfriend, but he still fails to tell her about the situation with Conrad or his parents’ money. Eventually there’s a point where Beatrice finds out about the whole situation and Conrad has to face the music. The narrative voice-over guides the film throughout, and the voice even gives a summary at the end of the film.

This film serves as a morality tale where the main character has to learn to take responsibility for his actions in order to be worthy of both his parents’ money and the Beatrice’s love. Jason Bateman plays the main character of Conrad, and Olivia Wilde plays Beatrice. Various critics compare the film to movies by Woody Allen since it’s a droll comedy set in an affluent New York area. The comedy in the movie relies heavily on the talent of the actors instead of the wit of the lines. The focus is on the quirkiness of both main characters. For example, when Conrad asks Beatrice whether she’s a vegetarian due to hating animals, she instead says that it’s actually because of her hatred of plants. One of the more interesting things about Jason Bateman’s character is how he continually does his best to avoid even the slightest hint of embarrassment. He refuses to admit his poverty to anyone in even the subtlest ways by wearing the same expensive suit and pricey haircut and constantly making remarks about different minutiae involving veal and other expensive hobbies of the very rich. This is what sets up a lot of the dramatic and comedic moments in the film, and it serves to help set up the character’s main arc for personal growth as well. Obviously, it’s important to establish where the character of Conrad is at the beginning of the film and to portray how he's changed at the end to show, and these little details are a credit to how the film tries to make Conrad’s personality clear. He is a man who has no identity outside of his privileged lifestyle. “The Longest Week” shows this thoroughly in the beginning when it depicts Conrad’s lavish lifestyle, including his personal driver and hotel room with all of the luxuries that come with one of the fanciest hotels in the world. This helps to illustrate how profound and impressive Conrad's personal growth by the end of the film is, as he acts significantly more honest and humble.

Overall, “The Longest Week” is another film in a long tradition of “coming of age” films, with the twist here being that Conrad is almost 40. Normally this type of film focuses more on younger people. The fact that “The Longest Week” instead focuses on someone who's nearly 40 is part of what makes it compelling.

 

 

Tags: The Longest Week, Jason Bateman, Olivia Wilde, Billy Crudup
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