Film / Last Night

Last Night is a Canadian drama directed by Don Mckellar.

The film details how a handful of characters decide to spend the final hours of existence in Toronto. The film won several awards, including Genie Awards for Don Mckellar (Best First-time Canadian Director), Sandra Oh (Best Leading Actress), and Callum Keith Rennie (Best Supporting Actor). The film was also cited by Edgar Wright as one of his influences in making Shaun of the Dead.

This film contains examples of:

  • Apocalypse How: Class 5, for argument's sake (though speculation that the world-ending event is a supernova might put it in class X-2). The how and why are never quite explained, but it's an event that has been known for around two months.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Played with. Sandra got married and pregnant during the two-month window where everyone is aware that the world is about to end. Since people have to live with the consequences of large decisions for just two months, such choices often have wishful intentions but are essentially meaningless.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Sandra and her husband were of this belief, although it was more in the form of "it's better to kill and be killed by someone you love right before your moment of impending death than to have your life taken from you through passionless circumstance". She tries to fall in love with Patrick and get him to indulge her wish with her when it becomes apparent that her husband isn't coming home. In the end, through a combination of her own despair, Patrick's obvious attraction to and sympathy for her, the impending destruction of the planet and her ultimate bloody-minded refusal to give up hope in the ending that she wanted, she succeeds in falling in love with Patrick just seconds before the world ends.
  • Bittersweet Ending: One of the ultimate examples. Patrick doesn't get to spend the last night as he planned, i.e. on his own doing whatever he wants; on the other hand he falls in love with Sandra and finally has a meaningful relationship with someone else, even if just for one evening. Sandra doesn't get to be reunited with her husband, but she does connect with Patrick, so strongly that she abandons her plan to kill herself and falls in love with him at the exact moment the world comes to an end.
  • California Doubling: Averted; the film was shot in and takes place in Toronto.
  • Cue the Sun: Subverted in that the inexplicably bright sun gets ominously larger and brighter as the night progresses.
  • Darkness Equals Death: Completely inverted. The death of the world takes place in light.
  • Daylight Horror: The film is set entirely at night during the Earth's final few hours of existence, and yet the sun doesn't go down. At all. In fact, it gets brighter throughout the film, as it is implied that the coming apocalypse is related to the Sun in some ways (quite possibly a supernova).
  • Endless Daytime: Most of the film takes place at night when it should be dark during any time of the year, but it's always daytime and the sky is always blindingly bright. It's implied, but never outright stated, that it's actually some solar phenomenon that ends the world.
  • Ghost City: Despite everyone still being alive, almost all public services have stopped running. Somewhat justified in that if it's the last day you're ever going to be alive, why would you go in to work?
  • Just Before the End
  • Kill 'em All: Perhaps even a Foregone Conclusion.
  • Last Kiss: And also a First Kiss.
  • The Last Title: The title.
  • Light Is Not Good: A very literal example. Something about the light is suggested to be the thing that brings about the end of the world.
  • Mexican Standoff: One of the few examples that also doubles as a Tear Jerker. Subverted in that they can't bring themselves to go through with it, and kiss as the world ends.
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations: Played heartbreakingly straight with Sandra and Patrick. Sandra has just realised that her husband, who she's spent the entire film trying to get to, is probably dead, and that Patrick, who she has been accidentally encountering throughout the film, is probably the last person she will ever meet, on the last day ever. Patrick, for his part, has been quietly falling in love with her ever since he met her.
    Sandra: Patrick, I have to ask you a question. Feel free to say no -
    Patrick: Yes.
    Sandra: Yes what.
    Patrick: Yes, you can stay. You can spend the night, until the end. I mean, even if he was there, your husband, you wouldn't make it home in time, it's past eleven, and - and anyway, I want you to stay. I've been thinking about it, and it's not an imposition. It's not like I want to have sex with you, but I do feel, I like you. We made a...a connection. I want us to be together.
    Sandra: [pause, on the verge of tears] I want you to shoot me.
    Patrick: [pause] ...Oh. So that was the question.
  • Think of the Children!: Patrick's Grandmother tries to invoke this, but is rebutted by Rose with the memorable line:
    "I don't give a damn. People are always saying 'The children. Pity the children'. I'm tired of the children. They haven't lived, given birth, watched their friends die. I have invested 80 years in this life. The children don't know what they're missing."
  • Out with a Bang: Craig's last day plans are to indulge in all of his previously unfulfilled sexual fantasies.
  • Sealed with a Kiss: Overlaps with Last Kiss. Both the world and the film end with the main characters kissing.
  • Virgin Tension: Inverted with Donna. She is a virgin and desperately doesn't want to be one; Craig has had nearly every kind of sex you can have, but he's never had sex with a virgin. They finally meet.