I had a really hard time with this film. It sets up a premise that is grounded in realism, and the painful twists and turns in the road of life. We are following a protagonist so painfully down-on-his luck, that it isn’t difficult to get pulled into the relatability of the situation. In some ways, it was too realistic for where I am in life right now, but I appreciated this dedication. That is, until the movie decides to throw away the realism in favor of a fantasy twist. The movie even makes a game out of keeping the reveal of whether the fantasy elements are real or simply mental illness until the very end. This is problematic, because regardless of which you are hoping for, the reveal makes entire elements/aspects of the narrative irrelevant.
Bart (Finn Wittrock) is a struggling writer who has trouble paying the bills while recovering from a particularly difficult breakup. This premise is coincidentally similar to a place I have been in my life recently, so I was empathizing with the dissatisfaction of his career and the aimlessness he feels when he makes the decision to day-drink at a movie theater and passes out. Woken up by an enigmatic young woman named Vienna (Zoë Chao), Bart finds someone to enjoy life with. The two of them fall into fast company, with banter and flirtations leading to physical chemistry.
It isn’t until Vienna announces that she comes from the future that the movie begins to lose focus. All of the painfully realistic depiction of Bart’s emotional struggles is tossed aside in favor of a simple mystery, and filmmaker Steve Basilone plays with the audience by offer opposing clues as to whether Vienna is telling the truth or suffering from a mental illness. Not only is this an irresponsible treatment of the discussion of mental illness, it also tosses aside the very real emotional recover that Bart is going through. Rather than seeing him make healthy progress growing or working on himself, he simply gets over his past heartbreak by latching on to another woman.
The response I had to this film may not be the same as everyone. I wouldn’t expect most to relate so much to the rock-bottom situation that Bart is at. But as someone working very hard to find a healthy way forward, I only wished that Long Weekend had taken the premise and its characters more seriously. Instead, they simply feel likes pawns in the filmmakers play. Worse yet, so does the audience.
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 6/10
Historical Significance: 2/10
Special Features: 0/10