What Happened Was...

"Extraordinary"

What Happened Was... Review


The first date is not a coming of age ritual. It is not a step in a relationship. It is not a beginning. It is a period of immense awkwardness and trepidation that, no matter what excuse one makes to work around the first date atmosphere, will still exist. However, in case you decide you wish to volley for the worst first date award (which is tantamount to the Old Woman claiming the worst life in Candide), you should first pick up the film What Happened Was...

What Happened Was... a film directed, written by, and starring Tom Noonan, and dedicated to his wife. Having watched the film, I now wonder if he and his wife have suffered a divorce as a result or if they simply had something close to the complete nightmare of a first date illustrated in the film.

The film functions almost as a one-act play. There are two actors and one set, and, were it not from the period glance into other people's apartments, you would have the feeling as if you are not watching a movie at all. Unlike the majority of first-date films, the first date of What Happened Was... is the hour and a half entirety of the film. Thus, although it runs into the incredibly long for a one-act, it still cannot be called anything else.

The actors are Tom Noonan, playing a paralegal named Michael, and Karen Sillas, playing secretary Jackie Marsh. They both work at the same Manhattan law firm. They both find themselves in empty lives. Neither one dates much, and, as she was drawn to his sense of humor at the office, she invites him to dinner at her apartment.

The dinner and following conversation is what happens in the film.

Being not only a one-act formula film but also a top-notch one-act, the dialogue is excellent. The conversation flows like real conversation flows, and is just as interesting to listen to. Built masterfully into the air is a tension that is held up only by dialogue and performance in the film (it reaches a peak during the reading of the story that gives the film its title).

The trouble with writing an extremely positive review of a film like What Happened Was... is that, as any film so terribly complex yet so deceptively simple, it is hard to say anything about it. What can be said is that it possesses a raw soul that most movies are devoid of. Its characters are formed perfectly.

This is a film of pure thought. It thinks to the degree that, having watched it, you are left in silence for a few moments as you ponder what you have just seen. You began to contemplate, to attempt to draw conclusions from this thoroughly fascinating piece of art. And, as you can probably tell from this review, which is written two weeks after the fact, you don't get any conclusions anytime soon.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 91 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th September 1994

Distributed by: Hallmark Entertainment

Production compaines: Good Machine, The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%
Fresh: 19 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Robin O'Hara

Starring: as Jackie Marsh, as Michael

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Colossal Movie Review

Colossal Movie Review

It's rare to find a movie that so defiantly refuses to be put into a...

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Movie Review

It's unlikely that Guy Ritchie could make a boring movie if he wanted to. This...

Snatched Movie Review

Snatched Movie Review

It doesn't really matter that the script for this lively action-comedy is paper thin: teaming...

Jawbone Movie Review

Jawbone Movie Review

Boxing movies aren't usually this thoughtful. Sure, there are plenty of punchy moments in the...

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Whisky Galore! Movie Review

Scottish filmmaker Gillies MacKinnon (Hideous Kinky) remakes the 1949 Ealing comedy classic, although it's difficult...

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Alien: Covenant Movie Review

Master filmmaker Ridley Scott is back to continue the story 10 years after the events...

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

The Journey (2017) Movie Review

A fictionalised account of real events, this drama is reminiscent of Peter Morgan's work in...

Advertisement
Sleepless Movie Review

Sleepless Movie Review

In remaking the 2011 French thriller Sleepless Night, the filmmakers have dumbed down both the...

Unlocked Movie Review

Unlocked Movie Review

By injecting a steady sense of fun, this slick but mindless action thriller both holds...

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.