Palm Springs (2020) Review
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
HOW should you live your life? Is it best to persevere through a seemingly never-ending narrative alone, or should you share your pain with another desolate soul? Director Max Barbakow's continual comedic romp explores these philosophies in a compelling manner that never feels too secluded or nonsensical.
On the night of her sister's wedding, Sarah (Cristin Milioti) meets the eccentric and carefree Nyles (Andy Samberg). The two soon find themselves escaping from the wedding, but after a freak accident inside a mysterious cave, Sarah immediately wakes up on the morning of the same day, trapped in a one-day time loop alongside Nyles who has been stuck inside the loop for as long as he can remember.
Now destined to repeat the same day over-and-over again, Nyles and Sarah must learn to co-exist with one another as they learn the importance of mortality and whether existing is what it means to be alive.
Andy Siara constructs a masterful screenplay which is only enhanced by the superb direction taken by Barbakow, creating an eerie atmosphere that feels all too familiar to anyone who has been a long-term relationship.
The recurrent plot continually endures thanks to the performances given by Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg, who was nominated for a Golden Globe for the role. The two have tremendous comedic and emotional chemistry as they come to terms with the fact they must repeat a humdrum day, and that the only constant are the memories they retain of each another upon re-emerging 'tomorrow' morning.
Although Milioti and Samberg ultimately carry Palm Springs, J.K. Simmons' character of Roy was also a much-welcomed and necessary inclusion to push the film's impassioned envelope.
Introduced as a one-note foil to Nyles, Roy is later revealed to be so much more underneath, establishing unforeseen and realistic consequences into a world where time repeats itself for a trio of people.
Palm Springs' soundtrack, while mostly there to provide nostalgia, suited the situation of never-ending life and love wonderfully, with songs such as Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time perfectly harmonising alongside Nyles and Sarah's situation due the song's iconic lyrics: "If you're lost you can look and you will find me...time after time."
What could have been a monotonous comedy of errors ended up being one of the most hilarious and touching films in recent memory; humanising performances by Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti and J.K. Simmons, as well as comfortably-paced jokes, entrenched Palm Springs as an enduring comedy for the ages - no matter the time period.