The Sunlit Night (2019) – IMDB
On the whim, I stopped watching the trailer and started to watch The Sunlit Night on Hulu. I liked it enough I thought what could go wrong? I was in the mood for something light and a little funny, random. Something indie. What starts off well for a girl who is looking for a spark of life in her paintings travels to Norway to work for a renowned painter. This is an escape from her life in the States where she was dumped, parents divorcing, lifeless paintings, and her sister getting engaged. She needs a spark. As it progressed with beautiful scenery of the great, grassy sloped mountains holding clouds at their peaks, with crashing waves all around Norway was a treat to see. I was ready to get lost in this foreign land and see what lay ahead. Too bad the story wondered off and itself got lost.
The main protagonist was such a BRAT. She’s supposed to be working for this guy she thought highly of but decides to parade around by either not listening or deciding to flirt with some guy who sold her a sandwich back home. Frances, the one we’re following around, has a rough relationship with the Norway painter. He may not be the easiest person to work with due to the deadline the painting project needs to be completed by but this isn’t some vacation. Yet Frances holds little respect for a man who even admits his wrong doing. Get the project done, sooner the better, then jump around in your naked overalls to your heart’s desire. She is entirely misguided and a total disregard for the work she sought out. There was something she mentions to sandwich boy about painting was her focus and everything else was her escape (distraction). By the end, she still seemed like the same person, no change. What she said earlier made no sense to me, I tried to, but also didn’t care enough to sit around to understand.
The Sunlit Night has some interesting characters. The initial interaction with Frances and her family were comical. Zach Galifianakis is joyful to see but wasted. Gillian Anderson a shock to see but wasted. The whole side story with sandwich boy who can twist dough I thought was pointless. The grocery girl was interesting. The painter was interesting. I had interest in the landscape and the people in it. But I got nothing from it. I would have appreciated more of a transcendental story of a woman coming to Norway, learning of the people, herself, the land, HOW TO PAINT, and close with her being a better person who has new found respect, spark for life. Instead we got this brat.
I couldn’t bring myself to care for Frances. She had careless motivation and disregard for those helping her. It was hard to believe she changed in the end. Maybe I would have cared if she did. The whole time I was waiting for some revelation, like it was trying to say more than what it was offering. I didn’t get it. If you did, please tell me, might not care but I got open ears if I missed something.
The Sunlit Night was definitely missing a stroke of life.