Palm Springs: Film Review

Palm Springs

I have been wanting to see Palm Springs for a really long time. Critics have been raving about it ever since Sundance Film Festival 2020 and now I’ve finally been able to see it for myself, and thankfully, it lived up to the hype and matched my expectations.

The film is set on November 9th in Palm Springs, California at the wedding of Tala (Camila Mendes) and Abe (Tyler Hoechlin). Sarah (Cristin Milioti), the bride’s half-sister, forms a bond with Nyles (Andy Samberg) after he makes an impromptu speech to rescue her in her drunken state. As they’re about to hook up, Nyles is shot by an arrow fired by Roy (J.K. Simmons) and crawls into a cave wounded. He urges Sarah not to follow but curiosity gets the better of her and she is sucked into a vortex and wakes up on the morning of 9th November once again, something Nyles has been doing for a very long time.

The concept of Palm Springs is fantastic. It’s refreshingly original and provides rich opportunities for comedy. Sure, time loop films have been done plenty of times before, with movies like Groundhog Day and Edge of Tomorrow springing to mind, but the beats in Max Barbakow‘s feature directorial debut feel totally unique; they haven’t been borrowed from what’s come before. Plus, the whole vibe of the film feels very different – it’s fun, irreverent, and extremely silly and a mix of science fiction and romantic comedy.

More often than not, films with an amazing premise usually fail in the execution or the idea can’t sustain a feature and it runs out of steam, but thankfully, this isn’t the case with Palm Springs. The film is wisely only 90 minutes long so it doesn’t outstay its welcome and it maintains the zippy momentum it kicks off with so you’re never wishing it would wrap up. The screenplay by Andy Siara is really clever and I like how the relationship between Nyles and Sarah evolves and how we slowly get to learn more about the time loop as Sarah does, since she’s our eyes into that world.

Samberg is known for his comedy skills so he easily commands those scenes but he impressed me with the more emotional work he has to do later when he realises Sarah wants to leave the loop he’s grown comfortable with as life has no meaning and he can be carefree. Even though he’s good, Milioti is the revelation here. She’s extremely funny but she also tackles this darker side of Sarah, who makes bad choices and despises herself for them. Their chemistry was excellent and watching them play off each other – particularly in the early scenes when they’re simply enjoying the time loop together – made me smile a lot. Simmons is as reliable as ever as Roy, who seems menacing until you get to know him better. I also want to point out that Peter Gallagher (Sandy from The O.C.) is in this nowhere near enough.

It amazes me that this is Barbakow’s debut – he has just nailed it with a film that is really tricky to get right. Palm Springs made me very happy and I want to watch it again. Definitely check it out!

On Amazon Prime Video from Friday 9th April

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Top Films for December


Celeste and Jesse Forever

Now this looks like a sweet romance story. Rashisa Jones is Celeste (and she also co-wrote the movie) and Andy Samberg is Jesse- they are separated but they still act like best friends and like they are still a couple. Their little arrangement gets messy when Jesse meets someone else. This is basically a story of how Celeste deals with Jesse’s new relationship. From the outset, you generally know how this film will end but I want to see it anyway. Also starring Elijah Wood and Emma Roberts. Released: 7th



The Man With the Iron Fists

This looks weird but I’m so intrigued by it. It is martial arts film with crazy special effects and slo-mo fighting. There is a very loose plot but I don’t think the plot is the main focus here- it is the action, the fight sequences and how badass everything looks. Lone warriors unite to defeat a common enemy and save their village. Lucy Liu looks kick ass in this and quite like her character in Kill Bill. It will be violent and ridiculous but very enjoyable. Also starring Russell Crowe and Jamie Chung. Released: 7th



The Oranges

This looks like a brilliant romantic comedy with a fantastic cast. Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener are the Wallings and they are best friends and neighbours with Oliver Platt and Alison Janney, the Ostroffs. Their perfect family situation goes awry when the Ostroff’s daughter, Nina (Leighton Meester) returns home from Thanksgiving after a five year absence. Rather than date the Walling’s son Toby (Adam Brody), Nina embarks on a relationship with his father (Hugh Laurie). It looks hilarious when the families find out and I wonder what the resolution is. Released: 7th


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey … one embargo to bind them.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I’m not a fan of the LOTR franchise BUT I’m putting this in because it is going to be December’s biggest movie and therefore, it deserves a mention. Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) is hired by Gandalf (Ian McKellen) to accompany a group of dwarves to reclaim stolen treasure from the Lonely Mountain guarded by a dragon. I’m sure you all know the set-up and the cast by now. This is going to be big. Released-13th


Pitch Perfect

Pitch Perfect

I cannot wait for this! I have been excited for this since it came out in America. It is basically a movie version of Glee but with a cappella groups. Anna Kendrick joins the Bellas, her university group and helps them break out of their mould so they stand a chance of winning a competition. You can predict the ending but this is going to be so enjoyable. I love musicals! Also starring Brittany Snow and Rebel Wilson. Released: 21st