• James Hewlett

Palm Springs

I said yesterday I had watched a movie I really wanted to talk about but I kind of don’t want to ruin anything about the plot.

I know it’s in the trailers and everything but I think if you’re able to see this film knowing absolutely nothing then you should do that.

If you trust my recommendations, have access to this film (Hulu in the US and Prime Video in the uk early next year) leave this post now and just go watch it.

Spoilers ahead.

So this is my favourite film of the year. Granted that isn’t a very big selection pool but I think it would have been up there regardless.

The fact it did come out in a year that has seen many of us locked away and feeling extremely alone plays to its favour though I think.

Palm Springs is a time-loop movie ala Groundhog Day, I shouldn’t need to explain anything further than that for you to get what I mean. Andy Samberg’s lead character, Nyles, is stuck living the same day over and over again with all the knowledge of what has happened before while everyone else resets. That is until, through hap and circumstance, Christin Milioti’s Sarah gets caught in the same time-loop. The rest of the movie plays out with the two of them and I won’t spoil anything else about the plot, seriously, just go watch it.

What struck me the most is Nyles loneliness. He’s surrounded by people he knows, some he’s fond of, others he’s not, but because he’s had lifetimes to get to know these people on this particular day he is intimately familiar with all of them. Despite that fact he is dejected and hopelessly alone until Sarah joins him in the loop.

It’s not because he hasn’t ever met her before, he knows all about her in the moments he’s experienced previously, but he’s never got to learn about her, or anyone, for more than a day.

The parallel I found striking for the times we’re in at the moment is that while we’re still connected to family, friends, colleagues and strangers we’re also a lot more separated and alone than we’ve been used to up until this point in our lives.

There’s a particular scene right at the end of the movie that felt like a gut punch to me. It hit me on a really personal level and you can strip away the science fiction aspect of the movie and the scene still rings completely true for me.

This is the kind of movie that makes me go, “Fuck, I wish I had written that!”

I adore this film and am looking forward to revisiting it again in the future. It takes a lot for me to think that about anything these days.

Palm Springs is on Hulu is the US now and will be on Prime Video in the UK early 2021. Check it out.


©2017 by James Hewlett.