Column: “Palm Springs” didn’t get the attention it deserved

Luke Taylor, Editor-in-Chief

“Palm Springs” (2020) was only released on Hulu, which may have destroyed its chances of gaining the popularity it might have achieved if it were released in theaters, but I’ve been doing my best to combat that by forcing all my friends to watch it.

It’s a genuinely amazing film. Not only is the storyline enjoyable and surprising, but the entire film is visually beautiful.

The movie follows Nyles (Andy Samberg), a guest at a wedding who is stuck in a “Groundhog Day” inspired time loop.

It works just a bit differently; as long as he’s awake and alive, the loop won’t restart. We learn that he’s tried staying awake longer to return to normalcy and that he’s tried suicide to escape this endless loop. He’s been stuck there for an incredibly long time.

Eventually, Nyles is joined in this loop by another wedding guest, Sarah (Cristi Milioti). Milioti’s previous roles include parts in “The Wolf of Wall Street” and the tv series “Fargo,” but I first saw her in an episode of “Black Mirror” called “U.S.S. Callister.”

Milioti’s expressive yet subtle acting makes Sarah both an entirely unique character and a relatable figure for the viewer.

In fact, one of the main strengths of this movie is how real both lead characters seem. They discuss the moral issues that arise with their situation: With no consequences, what’s okay to do to another person?

Of course, they both want to escape. Both Nyles and Sarah have seen “Groundhog Day,” so they think there’s a lesson they’re meant to be learning.

So they do. They try really hard to learn, and then after that they actually do learn some lessons by making genuine mistakes and growing from them.

This isn’t “Groundhog Day,” though. No matter how much they grow as individuals, they never magically wake up in the next day. This turns the whole story on its head and forces the two characters to realize that not everything is about them.

Every character handles this situation differently. There are things happening outside the loop, too. Nyles has marital issues, the wedding doesn’t always flow smoothly, different characters feel differently about each other.

“Palm Springs” explores how people handle hopeless situations. Even though it’s in a sci-fi comedy setting, the story focuses on human relationships and morality.

As a viewer, you’re always discovering new information about the sci-fi aspects of the story, but you also learn new, unpredictable things about the characters, forcing you to answer the question, “Am I okay with this?”

On top of all this, “Palm Springs” is simply pleasant to watch. The whole movie kind of looks like it was filmed during “golden hour,” that time before sunset where everything has a magical glow to it.

I cannot recommend this movie more highly. It feels like watching a fun rom com that quietly shifts tone into the kind of story that you’ll be thinking about for days.

Luke Taylor can be reached at [email protected]