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Movie Review

The Last Kiss

MPAA Rating: R for sexuality, nudity and language

Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Drama, Comedy, Romance, Remake
Length:
1 hr. 55 min.
Year of Release:
2006
USA Release:
September 15, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG
Relevant Issues
Copyright, DreamWorks SKG

Is formalized marriage becoming obsolete? Answer
Many people are convinced that traditional marriages don’t work and that this practice should be abandoned. What does the Bible say about marriage?

What does the Bible say about adultery? Answer

Sex, Love and Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Christian answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more. Valuable resources for Christian couples, singles and pastors.
Featuring: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck, Michael Weston, Adam Schroeder, Rachel Bilson, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson, Lauren Lee Smith, Marley Shelton
Director: Tony Goldwyn
Producer: Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi
Distributor: DreamWorks SKG

“We all make choices. What’s yours?”

I had anticipated the release of this film for so long that I had convinced myself there was no way it could fail my expectations. Sadly, it failed them in so many ways, while somehow managing to exceed them as well.

From the impression I got, “The Last Kiss” was intended to be a story about choices. Not simply choices though, but about how our choices affect our relationships. I felt like it was intended to be relatable, while attempting to be genuine. It was clear that the film wanted to seem raw and edgy. This is the part where I would generally sum up the basic premise, but that in and of itself is complicated. On one hand, it’s about four guys who are close friends—each dealing with their own unique romantic relationship complications. We see how their fears, selfishness and choices seem to change everything about their lives. To pretend that is the premise though, would imply that this film is endearing, and it isn’t.

You have Michael (Zach Braff) and Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) who are unmarried and announcing to her parents that they are expecting a baby. From that comes the fears and pressures that apparently the typical man in that situation would feel. Shortly after those overwhelming details begin to confuse Michael, Kim (Rachel Bilson) enters the picture. She is everything one would imagine the “other woman” to be like—obvious, misleading, determined…

Meanwhile, while all the drama unfolds, and unravels the lives of Michael and Jenna—the audience sits through choppy, random (and often inappropriate and pointless) excerpts from the lives of Michael’s three closest friends (played by Casey Affleck, Michael Weston and Eric Christian Olsen).

I am one of those who is not easily offended. Though I would prefer not to sit through constant offensive language, graphic violence or explicit sex scenes, it takes a lot to make me walk out of a film. I like to be optimistic that these things could find some sort of redemption and that the outcome would be a film that realistically reaches people and touches them right where they need it most. By the time I’d seen the first half hour of this film, I had never wanted to walk out of a movie so badly. The language had been almost constant, there had already been two sex scenes which were worse than several NC-17 scenes I know of (including a lesbian scene at a bachelor party), and the plot was headed in ways that seemed to evoke a sense of dread within me.

Believe it or not, the sex got worse, the language stronger, and there were a few scenes of a girl hitting her boyfriend—and I could go on and on…

There is an underlying theme of forgiveness—when to give it, how to earn it. There is one line, toward the end, spoken by Tom Wilkenson. I can’t quote it exactly, but basically when told that the main character Michael (Zach Braff) loved his daughter, he replied with how that meant nothing. “So what?,” he asked. That means nothing… Love is a feeling that only you can feel. It’s the choices you make and the actions you carry out that mean something.

I’ll admit that I was impressed that such a strongly secular movie contained such a kernel of wisdom and truth.

Artistically, the film is brilliantly acted, the camera work is raw and gritty, at just the right times. The scenes meant to be powerful are shot powerfully and are delivered full of emotion. The scenes which are flat-out offensive are heavy and blatant. It’s clear for anyone watching, that there were significant directions that this story line and movie could have gone. Had they succeeded (and a major amount of editing occurred), “The Last Kiss” truly could have been a magnificent film.

It isn’t though. I predict it will slip through the cracks and be easily forgotten, which is sort of sad because it’s clear that the main actors in this cast put a lot of their hearts into it. Regardless though, I can’t recommend this film to anyone. I know that I will never watch it again. I STRONGLY urge parents not to allow their teens to see this movie.

I am sure any who watch this film in its entirety would agree that there are moments throughout it that are truly convicting. If its purpose were to enable people to stop and think about the choices they make and the outcome that can occur, then it will likely succeed at least a portion of this goal. Especially within the last 20, or so, minutes of this film. I did feel that a small amount of redemption was there.

Perhaps after the intense badgering of the sex scenes, nudity and incessant profanity, I was simply too jaded to see this movie in a positive light. If you truly insist on seeing this movie, judge for yourselves, and let me know while you are at it! I would be curious to know how others are reacting.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral—I was so excited to see “The Last Kiss” …my friend and I went to see it in it’s opening weekend. I love Zach Braff, and I knew the soundtrack was awesome, so I was looking forward to a great movie. Unfortunately, from the very beginning there were scenes that made me uncomfortable. There was a ridiculous amount of cursing (which I was expecting if it was going to be anything like “Garden State”), but what really offended me was all of the sex scenes. It was disgusting and definitely not needed to tell the story. Other than the offensive parts of the movie, the rest was just “ok” to me. Nothing spectacular, but it kept your attention. The moviemaking quality was excellent. If you really want to see the movie, I recommend that you wait for it to come out on DVD. It’s not worth the price to see it in theaters, and that way you can fast forward through offensive scenes, if you feel the need.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 5
—Brooke, age 21
Neutral—I saw the film with high expectations, being a fan of Zach Braff and “Garden State.” The movie is made to feel very real in bringing up issues that men and women face in relationships and life. You get to see choices (some being mistakes) that different characters make and how they are able to deal with them and fix them. The audience gets caught up in the curiosity of what the 4 friends will do with their lives. On the down-side, it was only curiosity that kept me in the theater, because the offensiveness was far worse than lesser movies I have walked out of. The downfall of the movie was the explicit and repetitive sex scenes. The language was over the top, but was part of what made the movie believable and feel real. The redemptive factors in the end do not make this a movie at all worth seeing. I cannot recommend this film to anyone. The trailer shows a movie with high potential for bringing up issues of life lessons, but is littered with unnecessary, explicit sex. My high expectations and the potential this movie had makes it a failure. The soundtrack is excellent and is the best part of the movie.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 5
—B Hams, age 25
Positive—I have to admit, I was extremely hesitant to see this movie. I’d heard from a friend who had seen it that there was an abundance of explicit sexual content, but that it was also an extremely powerful and beautiful film. She was right on both counts. I debated whether or not I should expose myself to such content unnecessarily, and, in the end my, excitement about the film’s potential outweighed the negative. I knew going in that there were parts I would have to close my eyes for, and that was OK. In the end, I left the theatre deeply affected in a positive way, without feeling cheap or guilty, due in part to the redemptive nature of the film near the end. The movie was difficult to watch for the first hour or so. EVERY one of the central characters were struggling with their own respective relationships, and each seemed to be making more cringe-inducing mistakes than they were doing good. “Life is full of choices,” as the tagline for the film proclaims. But we don’t always make the right choices. This was a central theme.

At its core, I believe this movie was about forgiveness and discovering what is important in life. It was a powerful depiction of the struggles that couples encounter and the rigors of keeping a relationship intact. As far as filmmaking quality goes, “The Last Kiss” is top notch. I would agree with the above reviewer that the scenes intended to be dramatic were indeed compelling and elicited strong emotions. The movie was full of strong performances, and Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson were brilliant. I would not recommend this movie for teenagers, unless they are mature beyond their years. I know this sounds ridiculous, being only 20 myself, but I honestly believe I was not ready to see this movie a year ago. Stay away from the film if you will not be able to handle explicit sexual content.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 4
—Luke Barnhart, age 20
Negative—I agree with the forgiveness message being an extremely good message—go Tom Wilkinson's character for never cheating on his wife!--but that was about it. It should’ve had a strong sexual content under the R-rating as movies used to have but then some people wouldn’t find the amount of sexual content in the movie offensive, I guess. My parents didn’t. Yes, and my dad picked a key moment to enter the room, watch a little too closely, and fall asleep. As a Christian trying to grow in conviction of the importance of holiness in my life, in honoring the Lord and keeping His Name holy in me, and also living in a home with nominal Christians (one may not be even be one), I would not recommend this movie. However, I really liked the characters of Wilkinson, Danner, and Barrett as they were a family embracing forgiveness. And the guy named Izzie was rather funny, too.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 3
—Jennifer, age 29