378) Nights and Weekends (2008) Dir: Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig Date Released: October 2008 Date Seen: November 1, 2009 Rating: 4/5
Save for its redundant coda of an ending, Nights and Weekends is as completely charming and absorbing as it is because of how it perfectly expresses its heroine's need for intimacy. Co-directors, co-writers and co-stars Joe Swanberg and Greta Gerwig whittle down Mattie's (Gerwig) attempts to get closer to James (Swanberg) into episodes that miraculously gel together gracefully and economically. The best part about the film is that unlike most "Mumblecore" or even "End of a Relationship" melodramas, you get to feel Mattie's fears of incompatibility with James beyond their tentative conversations. By which I mean, there's a carnal component to the film that is neither guarded nor exploitative. We see both her flesh and his from focused, mid-level angles that ache with a frustrated kind of longing. If anything, the fact that we see her skin more than his should seem more than a little peculiar considering that James is continually distant and ungiving. But it never does: the camera doesn't ever discriminate between the pair's bodies, making the impossibility of their union that much more frustrating. Bittersweet and funny, in its own modest way.