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

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

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.