The Best Films of 2011: #9 Weekend
It would be easy to offhandedly call this film a gay Before Sunrise and in some ways I suppose that’s what I’ve just done. I’m not sure how fair it is but the plots are remarkably similar. However, watching Weekend I got an impression of Mumblecore done right. A film that looks in on the same milieu but with actors that are not only competent but exceptional and a measured aesthetic sense. I suppose this leads one to ask just how much of an influence Linklater, and by extension Cassavetes, have had on Mumblecore but that’s for another time.
Weekend is just one of those films that so poignantly captures a feeling. In this case, that of a playful fling becoming something more than that. The feelings of longing and uncertainty, accompanied by a very real sense that this is, as all things are, only temporary. That last bit is of course imposed on the film by the plot device it borrows from Linklater’s Sunrise, but I think it taps into something deeper. It’s during the moments that you are living life most fully that you are most clearly away of it’s impermanence, while those very moments can suggest the infinite.
These are things that were going through my head as I saw this very visceral portrait of two people realizing they have feelings for one another and trying to figure out exactly what that means. As I’m stretching for length here I might as well touch on another aspect of the film I found unique and that is its portrayal of drug use. I’m in no way suggesting doing cocaine is a good idea and the film does use it to signify the characters confusion and dissatisfaction with their predicament. Yet, it’s somewhat refreshing to see a film that doesn’t portray drugs as inherently evil, it feels more genuine (and conflicted) than so many films that are haunted by the ghost of Nancy Reagan.