Pros: Bill Murray and Rashida Jones interaction; the subtle comedy of everyday situations; cozy atmosphere of New York, reminiscent of Woody Allen films Cons: simple plot “The Last Straw” / On the Rocks
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring Bill Murray (Felix), Rashida Jones (Laura), Marlon Wayans (Dean), Jessica Henwick (Fiona), Jenny Slate (Vanessa), Barbara Bain (Gren), Juliana Canfield (Amanda), etc.
Studio A24, American Zoetrope
Release year 2020
Two years ago, Apple entered into an agreement with the independent studio A24 for the joint production of feature films. And now the first result of their collaboration appeared, in which Sofia Coppola wrote the script and took the director’s chair.
The main character of the film, Laura (Rashida Jones), feels the burden of daily worries while raising two children. She needs to write a book, but there is no progress in her work. Moreover, she begins to suspect her husband of treason, noticing oddities in his constant business trips. In a fit of fatigue and doubt, she shares her experiences with her father Felix (Bill Murray), who immediately takes the situation into his own hands. Felix is an expert in affairs, so he invites his daughter to spy on her husband. Naturally, such a decision adds even more anxiety to Laura’s life.
The plot of the film is incredibly simple and uncomplicated. “The Last Straw” balances between a subtle everyday comedy and a film about family relationships. Moreover, the emphasis is gradually shifting to mutual understanding between father and daughter, who share completely different views on life.
This is not the first time Bill Murray has worked with Sofia Coppola (in addition to the famous melodrama Lost in Translation, which takes place in Tokyo, they filmed the Christmas musical A Very Murray Christmas, which can be watched on Netflix). In the new film, Murray is again associated with the city, this time with New York. His character, who has dozens of stories about this place, demonstrates charm at literally every corner. He knows all the best establishments, maintains useful contacts and charms everyone he meets, no matter who he is. It seems that his charm does not extend only to his adult daughter, who is worried about completely different things.
The way these two interact doesn’t make for endlessly funny stories. Rather, it gradually leads them to a conversation that should have happened much earlier. But there is still a moderate amount of comedy here. For example, look at the wonderful scene with surveillance in a vintage car, into which Murray’s character considers it necessary to take caviar and a bottle of champagne, without denying himself small pleasures.
In some scenes of the film, Sofia Coppola adds jazz melodies or briefly shows a keyboard player who plays in one of the New York bars. Elements of the establishments where the main characters sit also create a special atmosphere, vaguely reminiscent of the paintings of Woody Allen and his love for Manhattan.
Quite expectedly, the film is endearing to the heroine of Rashida Jones, who goes through the torments of procrastination and the burden of everyday life. She is not at all on the verge of a breakdown and does not fall into the abyss of personal drama. But in such a familiar and witty way as a director, he temporarily falls out of social life, being unable to maintain short small talk or ordinary dialogues with members of his family.
The film “The Last Straw” is well-made and enjoyable, but there is nothing super new about it. Therefore, an hour and a half of screen time flies by very quickly and quite predictably. This is probably not Sofia Coppola’s best film, but the film has everything you need for an evening movie that doesn’t weigh you down with a heavy agenda and doesn’t try to impose any worldview.
An easy hour and a half film that has the charm of Bill Murray and Sofia Coppola’s witty take on family issues.