Palm Springs (2020 film)
|Directed by||Max Barbakow|
|Screenplay by||Andy Siara|
|Story by||Andy Siara|
|Music by||Matthew Compton|
Palm Springs is a 2020 American science fiction romantic comedy film directed by Max Barbakow with a screenplay by Andy Siara from a story by Siara and Barbakow. It stars Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Peter Gallagher, and J. K. Simmons, and follows two strangers who meet at a Palm Springs wedding only to get stuck in a time loop.
The film had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2020, and was released in select theaters by Neon and digitally on Hulu on July 10, 2020. It was praised for the performances and use of the concept. The film received two nominations at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Samberg.
This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (May 2021)
On November 9 in Palm Springs, Nyles and his girlfriend Misty attend the wedding of Tala and Abe. At the reception, Nyles bonds with the maid of honor, Sarah. After he shows her Misty cheating on him, Sarah and Nyles go to the desert to have sex. As he undresses, Nyles is shot with an arrow fired by an assailant. Nyles crawls into a cave, warning Sarah not to follow him. Concerned for Nyles, Sarah follows him and is sucked into a vortex.
Sarah wakes up and finds it is November 9 again. She confronts Nyles in the pool, and Nyles explains that, by following him into the cave, Sarah has become stuck in a time loop with him. Nyles, having been in the loop for some time, has stopped wearing formal attire to the wedding, engaged in day-drinking, forgotten what his job is, and has had a series of one-night stands.
Sarah tries many methods to escape, such as walking back into the cave, driving back to Austin, attempting acts of selflessness, and committing suicide, but all fail. Nyles and Sarah spend many days together, engaging in reckless or hedonistic activities. Nyles reveals that the man who shot him, Roy, is a family man from Irvine; Nyles once did drugs with him at the wedding, and inadvertently trapped him in the time loop. In revenge, Roy sometimes hunts Nyles, torturing or murdering him.
Nyles and Sarah camp out in the desert where they consume magic mushrooms, witness a herd of brachiosauruses, and have sex. The next day, it is revealed that Sarah has been waking up in Abe's room having spent the night of November 8 with him and he advises her to leave before she is seen. A guilt-ridden Sarah refuses to talk to Nyles about their previous night, expressing that everything they do is meaningless. They are pulled over by a police officer who turns out to be Roy. Sarah rams into Roy with the police car, badly injuring him. After an argument during which Nyles says that pain still matters in the loop, he admits to Sarah that he had sex with her numerous times before she entered the time loop, something that he had lied about before. A disgusted Sarah kills herself, restarting the day.
After the next reset, Nyles spends his days searching for Sarah. He eventually realizes that Sarah and Abe had sex the night before the wedding. He confronts Abe and a fight breaks out between them. Nyles travels to Irvine to talk to Roy, who has given up on hunting Nyles after being hit by Sarah which caused him to sympathize with the pain that he inflicted on Nyles. Roy explains that he lives in the perfect day forever with his loving family, but will never get to see his children grow up. He tells Nyles that they should never speak again, and Nyles asks Roy to murder him one last time.
Sarah confronts Abe over their affair and both express remorse. She then resolves to escape the time loop, spending many days in a diner studying quantum physics and general relativity. She conducts a test by sending a goat into the cave with explosives. In the next reset, the goat has disappeared. Sarah wakes Nyles up and tells him she believes she knows how to escape the time loop by blowing themselves up in the cave before they restart the day. Nyles admits he loves Sarah but wants to stay in the time loop with her forever. She resolves to try her escape plan without him and a frustrated Nyles breaks up with Misty.
Sarah attends the wedding one last time, giving a heartfelt speech to Tala, and goes to the cave with explosives. While at the bar, Nyles has a change of heart, and decides to leave with Sarah. He rushes to the cave, admitting that he would rather die with her than remain in the loop alone. Sarah reciprocates his feelings and they kiss while she presses the detonator. Nyles and Sarah wake up on November 10, lounging in the vacant pool from before when the home-owners show up.
In a mid-credits scene, Roy approaches Nyles at the wedding, asking about Sarah's plan to escape the loop. When Nyles does not recognize Roy, Roy realizes the plan has worked and smiles.
- Andy Samberg as Nyles, Misty's boyfriend and Sarah's love interest
- Cristin Milioti as Sarah Wilder, half-sister of the bride Tala
- J. K. Simmons as Roy Schlieffen, another person trapped within the time loop
- Meredith Hagner as Misty, Nyles's girlfriend and Tala's bridesmaid
- Camila Mendes as Tala Anne Wilder, Sarah's sister and the bride
- Tyler Hoechlin as Abraham Eugene Trent "Abe" Schlieffen, Tala's fiancé
- Chris Pang as Trevor, the wedding officiant
- Peter Gallagher as Howard Wilder, Sarah and Tala's father
- Jacqueline Obradors as Pia Wilder, Sarah's stepmother and Tala's mother
- June Squibb as Nana Schlieffen, Abe's grandmother
- Jena Friedman as Daisy the Bartender
- Tongayi Chirisa as Jerry, a groomsman
- Dale Dickey as Darla, a woman in a bar
- Conner O'Malley as Randy, a groomsman
- Clifford V. Johnson as himself
Director Max Barbakow and screenwriter Andy Siara came up with the idea as students at the American Film Institute, "with an equal eye on Jungian philosophical ideas and the pragmatic importance of writing a small-budget film that would be easy to produce". They imagined the script as "an absurdist comedic mumblecore take on Leaving Las Vegas, centered on a despondent thirtysomething who travels to Palm Springs to kill himself, only to slowly rediscover a sense of meaning in his life." When Siara went on to write for the television show Lodge 49, they redeveloped the script into a more ambitious project with a sci-fi edge. While Groundhog Day was a fundamentally important starting point for the use of a time loop in a romantic comedy, Barbakow and Siara knew they needed to distance their script from the film. This led to starting with Nyles already within the time loop, making the film like "a sequel to a movie that doesn't exist" according to Siara, and then adding Sarah as a second character within the loop to serve as a point of navigation for the audience.
The project was announced in November 2018 after it secured a tax credit to film in California, however due to the limitations of that tax credit, they were forced to film in Los Angeles area rather than Palm Springs. Andy Samberg was announced as starring in the film. In March 2019, Cristin Milioti and J. K. Simmons joined the cast. Camila Mendes was added in April.
Palm Springs had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 26, 2020. Shortly after, Neon and Hulu acquired distribution rights to the film. Neon and Hulu reportedly paid $17,500,000.69 for the film, breaking the previous record for the highest sale of a film from Sundance by $0.69. Later reports put the deal closer to $22 million after guarantees were factored in.
The film was released in the United States digitally on Hulu and in select drive-in theaters on July 10, 2020. Hulu claimed that the film also set the opening weekend record by "netting more hours watched over its first three days than any other film" in the platform's history. In August 2020, it was reported that 8.1 percent of subscribers had watched the film over its first month. In November, Variety reported the film was the 26th-most watched straight-to-streaming title of 2020 up to that point.
Palm Springs was met with critical acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 95% based on 218 reviews, with an average rating of 8/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Strong performances, assured direction, and a refreshingly original concept make Palm Springs a romcom that's easy to fall in love with." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 83 out of 100, based on 42 critics, indicating "universal acclaim."
Writing for IndieWire, David Ehrlich gave the film a grade B+ and praised the film for cleverly reworking the Groundhog Day formula: "The movie always seems on the brink of biting off more than a super energetic 90-minute comedy can chew, and the sheer momentum of the storytelling doesn't give the story time to slow down." Peter Debruge of Variety gave the film a positive review, and wrote: "Palm Springs is to time-loop movies as Zombieland was to the undead genre: It's an irreverent take on a form where earlier iterations were obliged to take themselves seriously." Vince Mancini of Uproxx gave the film a positive review, saying: "Palm Springs is the perfect kind of art-comedy. It comes on like a brilliantly silly little lark and eventually lands on you like a ton of bricks."
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref.|
|ACE Eddie Awards||April 17, 2021||Best Edited Feature Film – Comedy or Musical||Matthew Friedman and Andrew Dickler||Won|||
|Art Directors Guild Awards||April 10, 2021||Excellence in Production Design for a Contemporary Film||Jason Kisvarday||Nominated|||
|Critics' Choice Movie Awards||March 7, 2021||Best Comedy||Palm Springs||Won|||
|Critics' Choice Super Awards||January 10, 2021||Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie||Palm Springs||Won|||
|Best Actor in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie||Andy Samberg||Won|
|J. K. Simmons||Nominated|
|Best Actress in a Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie||Cristin Milioti||Won|
|Best Villain in a Movie||J. K. Simmons||Nominated|
|Golden Globe Awards||February 28, 2021||Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Palm Springs||Nominated|||
|Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy||Andy Samberg||Nominated|
|Hollywood Critics Association||March 5, 2021||Best Breakthrough Performance (Actress)||Cristin Milioti||Won|||
|Best Comedy or Musical||Palm Springs||Won|
|Best Indie Film||Palm Springs||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||Andy Siara||Nominated|
|Hollywood Music in Media Awards||January 27, 2021||Best Original Score in a Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film||Matthew Compton||Nominated|||
|Hugo Awards||April 13, 2021||Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form||Max Barbakow and Andy Siara||Nominated|||
|Independent Spirit Awards||April 22, 2021||Best First Screenplay||Andy Siara||Won|
|San Diego Film Critics Society||January 11, 2021|
|Best Comedic Performance||Andy Samberg||Nominated|
|Best Editing||Andrew Dickler and Matt Friedman||Nominated|
|Best Performance by an Ensemble||Palm Springs||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||February 15, 2021||Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical||Andy Samberg||Nominated|
|Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical||Palm Springs||Nominated|
|Best Original Screenplay||Andy Siara||Nominated|
|Set Decorators Society of America||March 31, 2021||Best Achievement in Décor/Design of a Science Fiction or Fantasy Feature Film||Kelsi Ephraim and Jason Kisvarday||Nominated|||
|Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association||February 8, 2021||Best Original Screenplay||Andy Siara||Nominated|
|Writers Guild of America Awards||March 21, 2021||Best Original Screenplay||Andy Siara and Max Barbakow||Nominated|
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