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

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

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.