It’s a perfect romantic weekend — you’ve rented a ski lodge and are taking your wife on a trip to the Laurentians to enjoy a sexy weekend away from it all. But nothing ever goes as planned, does it? This is exactly how things start off in Three Night Stand.
The main character, Carl (Sam Huntington), is a lovable dork that plans on taking his wife, Sue, (Meaghan Rath), on the perfect weekend getaway. After finally saving up to purchase the wedding rings he couldn’t previously afford, he plans on presenting them to her to tie together his perfect weekend. But things fall apart when they arrive at the lodge, which was just purchased by Carl’s ex-girlfriend, Robin.
Hollywood movies have a way of portraying these romantic flicks in a strange light, often putting emphasis on how one person is clearly the better choice as a partner for the main character than the other. Three Night Stand chooses a different path, instead presenting us with characters that are as flawed as the rest of us.
Short tempers and snippy, insensitive responses during an argument are among some of these relatable shortcomings. For example Carl is awkward, not very good at lying (and he certainly tries to conceal some pretty important information from Sue), insecure and can come off as a jerk (all of which are brought forth by a spot on performance by Huntington). Sue, though, is demanding, generally unsatisfied with every aspect of the relationship, and seems to easily lose interest in her husband in favour of every other character she meets during their trip.
These inadequacies are strangely human, and yet under-represented in more mainstream films. We’re often presented with sex scenes that are oddly perfect, but when it comes down to real life situations, even the act of undressing can be a little awkward. The movie holds a mirror to that statement, and presents us with a reflection of our strange behaviour when we feel passionate about someone.
The film’s pacing is interesting; romantic dramas tend to have a very pick-up-and-go feel to them, giving you some brief moments of respite to digest all the new information that comes as the drama unfolds. In this particular case, the scenes flow intensely into one another, as if the movie was intended to be much longer but had to be edited down to its meaningful moments.
This isn’t a bad thing per se, and makes sense given the odd situation of spending three days at a lodge where everything that can go wrong inevitably does. The emotions are heavy-handed, and the pace at which everything unfolds makes the entire movie feel half as long as it really is, but also twice as charged emotionally.
Concordia graduates Pat Kiely (writer/director) and Robert Vroom (producer) may have us geared towards a bad ending for the characters involved, but ultimately, both Carl and Sue learn from the experience. As they sit in a cafe, some time after everything is said and done, you get the feeling that both characters have grown-up tremendously, and have adjusted their lives to avoid reliving what happened during that would-be perfect weekend.
At its core, Three Night Stand is more than just a romantic drama set in Quebec. It’s more than a standard love triangle, and involves so many characters that you’ll love, hate and love to hate, mingling with one another in a way that feels familiar, like it could have happened to anyone. Therein lies the appeal of the movie, and exactly what puts it a cut above the rest.
Three Night Stand opens at Cinema du Parc on Feb. 7.