THE SUNLIT NIGHT - Rom-Com in Disguise
A fellow alumna (-us?) is a woman described by a friend of mine as so unattractive as to be very attractive. She did not lack for dates as her fine qualities overcame a lack of God's natural gifts.
Jenny Slate, the lead of "A Sunlit Night" is just that. A woman at first glance who won't be causing any traffic accidents as she strolls down Main Street. But every look after generates some interest in an aesthetic while not classical is certainly feminine.
All this several layers of skin deep beauty is enhanced by her luminescent acting in "A Sunlit Night," a Scandinavian Romantic, uh, Comedy(?), which stalks the viewer until the revelatory promise of her artistic caterpillar-butterfly transformation is revealed. Along the journey she loses hunky boyfriend in the Hamptons, but discovers a fellow Brooklynite all the way up by the Arctic Circle.
And what is a nice Jewish girl from Brooklyn doing in the land of the midnight sun? She's painting a barn using only the color yellow. It's a premise which should have been tossed out of the swinging doors of a Western bar like a rowdy drunk, but, like Ms. Slate, it insinuates itself into a viewing paradise.
There are a few stock characters and moments. The goat, which sets up residence in her trailer home. The taciturn artist-in-residence (Fridtjov Såheim as the pinch-faced Nils). The ex-pats playing Viking in a nearby tourist park and attraction.
There is nothing in the film, despite excellent performances by the always reliable David Paymer as her father and the also weirdly attractive Jessica Hecht as her mother, which transcends Jenny Slate.
The film is about the nobility of finishing something. Of completion, in and of itself, a measure of character and strength. Perhaps that is what draws us to Ms. Slate. She, as Frances, embodies the spirit of the fighter, knocked to the canvas a number of times, but in no way signaling quit.