Friday Night

Friday Night ★★★½

The first half of this, up to when Valérie Lemercier and Vincent Lindon enter the hotel, is easily among my favorite things Denis has ever done. The whole build-to-night pre-title card sequence is extremely bold and gorgeous, Lemercier vibing out by herself in her car is a pleasant mood. It’s fun to be out at night, and people watch, and see what’s happening, and Denis totally gets it—everyone here is just rolling with it. The colors are extremely pleasant to look at, and she somehow manages to make traffic look sexy.

I used to think all the extreme close-ups of body parts were about abstraction and defamiliarization, and that’s part of what’s happening, but the primary agenda is actually conveying tactility. Sometimes this comes across very strongly (esp when the couple go to sleep for the night and arrange, then rearrange, their bodies to exactly the right mutually negotiated position), but mostly I prefer the exploratory group hangout vibe of the first part to the narrowed focus on two people in a room. Which, granted, this sequence is extremely necessary and in fact the whole point of the movie. This turning into Nine Songs would obviously not be desirable, but there’s a lack of specificity at what we do see physically pass between Lemercier and Lindon—he holds her down briefly/gently, but that’s about it—that doesn’t quite land. Sex scenes are hard!

Anyway, those are caveats and this is an insanely pleasant and enjoyable movie in which two people have a good time and nothing punitive or catastrophic happens. Revisiting a movie I saw once, almost certainly alone, at age 16 (and enjoyed a lot) in a full theater with friends was a very nice feeling.