The Last Kiss (L’Ultimo Bacio) movie review | TIFF 2001

by W. Andrew Powell
The Last Kiss
The Last Kiss

When Harry Met Sally is one of my favorite romantic-comedies, and yet, in ways it drives me nuts because it’s the kind of film where every awful event that you’d never want to live through happens to the main characters and their friends. In The Last Kiss, a similar story ensues where a host of Italian couples try to figure out what kind of romantic life they want to lead, and end up creating all sorts of havoc along the way.

The film follows eight main characters who are in love with a variety of people, ideas and places. The main character, Carlo, is engaged to be married, but at the beginning of the film he also meets a young girl named Francesca who makes Carlo wonder if he’s ready to be married. As he chances after her, he soon creates a mess of epic proportions with his wife-to-be. Other men in the film go through a variety of other tales and seem to want to escape back to the days of their care-free youth or run away to Africa on a wild adventure.

The Last Kiss
The Last Kiss

Throughout the course of events, one thing remains the same… everyone in their relationship feels doubt about their place in life and the partners they have chosen.

In some cases, the questions about their lives leads to a better future, but in others it seems like the only answer is to either break-up or pretend that they are happy with the way things are.

As a subtitled film, I was really impressed with how well I managed to follow everything and care about each character and their choices. Some subtitled films can’t maintain this empathy with the crowd, but The Last Kiss is a very special film that captures an essence of the characters and draws the audience in to their world. It’s a smart, funny, intelligent trip through the lives of these people and at every turn it either surprises you, makes you laugh or pleases you with it’s wit and wisdom.

The Last Kiss
The Last Kiss

After watching the movie, I have to admit that I loved the ending (and it seemed only fair), but it also left me feeling a little bitter about what relationships actually mean to many people today. Still, it’s a much better ending than the cliche “happy ending” I see in almost every big, American, studio film. Instead of the same old heartless approach, The Last Kiss takes a higher road that leads you through a series of lives that may seem cruel and harsh, but, if they are harsh, it only reinforces our own beliefs in what true love means individually and what it takes to know the difference between love, infatuation and the absolute – true love.

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