Why it’s (in)famous:
The Longest Week is not famous in the traditional sense. Instead, it’s infamously bad.
Most cinephiles will gladly recommend art house films that haven’t been seen by many, but this movie is not on any of those lists.
Even after its extremely limited release in 2014, The Longest Week ranked poorly with critics in America and Europe, who tore apart the film’s uneven style and message.
But despite all this critical bashing, I unashamedly find it charming, clever, aesthetically pleasing, and droll.
Why you haven’t seen it:
Although major stars like Jason Bateman and Olivia Wilde star in the film, the production, editing, and release of this comedy-drama was fraught with conflict.
Director Peter Glanz and the producers had two entirely different visions of what the final product should look like. Glanz had a highly stylized narrative in mind—think along the lines of Woody Allen or Wes Anderson—while the producers envisioned a typical, light American romantic comedy.
As a result, the film was heavily edited and re-edited just in time to receive a small release that was met with almost universal scorn from critics and indifference from average movie goers.
Different versions were also released across the United States, which led to further confusion among audiences and critics.
Why it might be tough to get through:
Despite liking the film, I can empathize with the critics who reacted negatively to the filmmaker’s portrayal of privileged, affluent, and aimless characters.
Conrad Valmont (Bateman) is difficult to sympathize with. He is a rich, spoiled dilettante whose world solely revolves around himself and the gathering stages of his unfinished novel.
His love interest, Beatrice (Wilde), is not any better. Although Beatrice has no egregious character flaws of her own, her privileged lifestyle as a model definitely makes it difficult to empathize with her.
Even the token, not as privileged, left-leaning friend of Beatrice, Jocelyn (Jenny Slate) gets irritating after a while. Although all the characters are funny and at times charming, none of them seem to have clear redeeming qualities on the surface.
Why you should see it anyway:
The point of The Longest Week is not to directly identify and then exploit the faults of the affluent, like, say, Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Instead, it’s simply to sit back and laugh at it.
The characters that populate the screen are worthy of both scorn and laughter and it’s OK to admit that. The film has a distinctive narrative and visual style, and the script writing is skillful, especially considering the subject matter which could have easily been clichéd.
The soundtrack is also incredible, since it skillfully reinforces the film’s classic quirky style.
Considering the subject matter, both Bateman and Wilde hold their own. Their performances are not overworked, and they manage to find the right balance between being lighthearted and intelligent.
So if you want to watch an easygoing, clever film, mix yourself a Tom Collins and give it a watch.
Conrad: “Is it wrong to be aroused by a bunch of pubescent girls running around in nylon shorts?”
Dylan: “I suppose that’s a decision every man has to make on his own in his life.”
Conrad: “What would you call someone with a Napoleon complex who is of average height?”
Dylan: “Oh, just a narcissist.”
Conrad: “I never understood why someone would want to be a vegetarian. I mean, do you really love animals that much?”
Beatrice: “No, I just really hate plants.”
- Although the film was completed in 2012, due to creative differences it wasn’t released until 2014, with two different versions of the film eventually being made available to the public.
- Critics gave this film abysmal reviews due to its flip flopping style.
- This is the second Hollywood film released by the Bollywood production company Yash Raj Films. The first was the equally panned Grace of Monaco, which was also released in 2014.
Note: The trailer is nothing like the film. Don’t even bother, just find yourself a copy and sit down with it.