The Massy Tadjedin-directed film, Last Night is a heavy romance drama that can make you question your married life, even if you are single. Released almost thirteen years ago in 2010, the movie explores the unfaithful behavior a couple could indulge in before it eventually sabotages their relationship.
It is the story of Joanna and Michael Reed, a married couple staying apart for a night. But it turns out that a night is enough to transform the entire relationship dynamic of the two. Michael goes on a business trip for the night with a colleague he may have slight feelings for, whereas Joanna is met with an old love from her past.
The story stars actor Sam Worthington from the Avatar and Terminator movies, in the role of Michael Reed and Kiera Knightly from The Pride and Prejudice, Atonement, and Pirates of the Caribbean series, as Joanna Reed. Eva Mendez is cast in the film as Michael’s attractive co-worker, Laura Nunez, and Guillaume Canet as Joanna’s old love interest, Alex Mann.
The film was created to be either a romance or a thriller. Still, the makers found the infidelity theme taking over the story to an extent, calling it a “moral thriller” with a hint of the slice-of-life genre.
The makers, especially Massy Tadjedin, have been praised for taking a neutral stance when dealing with characters as complex as the two leads. The film garnered mixed responses from its viewers and critics, with some calling it dull and hollow to others saying that the slow pace and the minute expressions of the leads add so much more to the film than what is visible.
Last Night Movie Ending Explained
The movie starts by introducing us to Joanna, a writer, and Michael, a real estate agent. The two are married and live in New York. The couple is at a party together when Joanna notices her husband giving one particular woman a lot of attention, Laura Nunez.
Joanna suspects something might be happening between them based on their interaction at the party and confronts Michael on the way back. Where Michael could have brushed off the entire situation calmly, he chose to get defensive, and the two got into an argument.
But much like any married couple, they make up by the end of the night, not by talking things out but by the only way they know. Michael leaves the town the next day for business, accompanied by Andy and Laura. While these two finally have a reason to be in such proximity, Joanna also meets up with her old love, Alex Mann.
The two spend time together, go to bars and meet up with more of Alex’s friends, where they ask about her husband, Michael, who has no idea of Alex’s existence. Over the day, they get closer to each other emotionally and even return to Andy’s place. They talk more about their relationship once they get back together when Michael breaks up with her sometime.
When night arrives, they go to a party coming closer with every moment, this time physically, and by the end of the party, the two have shared a kiss. They return to Alex’s hotel room, anticipating the possibilities that could become a reality.
Marriage is a Wake-Up call
But by the time they reach the room, the realization that Joanna is married dawns on her, and she refuses to sleep with him. But she also does not leave his room to return to her apartment. It has taken massive effort for her to draw the line between Alex and her out of respect for her marriage and Michael, but it is not a strong enough boundary, and the lines could get very blurry very soon.
Morning comes, and we find the two sleeping together but not having slept with each other. It is time to go, and Alex gently kisses her mouth once more before leaving. While Joanna and Alex shared their day and night, Laura and Michael also lived their dream lives.
The group attended whatever business meeting they were there to attend, after which they had all day to do whatever they wanted. Laura is the one who makes the first move in this case; she invites Michael out to the bar to have a drink with her.
At that moment, Laura kisses Michael, but he backs off, saying that he has never cheated on him, which is strange to say when you have a wife waiting for you at home. They move from the bar to the pool area, where they abandon almost all of their clothes and get swimming. Laura asks him if his wife has ever cheated on him before, to which he replies negatively.
Laura declares that her now-dead partner has cheated on her and made her angry for over a month, after which she is okay with the affair. This monologue felt like she was trying to convince Michael to cheat on his wife with her, telling him that if she was not all that angry, then chances are Joanna might be the same.
Laura giving herself as an example from the point of view of someone who has been cheated on is enough to push Michael off the edge and give in to the very beautiful nature of Laure Nunez. Laura has Michael around her fingers and blatantly flirts with him, and the two finally sleep with each other in Laura’s room.
By the next day, the two have cheated on each other without the other knowing. Michael goes back to his room and, in his bag, finds a note from Joanna apologizing for the fight they had the night when she doubted him for having something going on with Laura. This dials Michaels’s guilt towards Joanna to eleven, ad he rushes back to Philadelphia.
What is done is done and cannot be undone. Michael finds Joanna crying in their beautiful apartment, and we all know why. He does his best to restore the damage caused by him and says that the two will figure something out to get back to their normal married lives.
Michael hugs her, sits with her, and tells her he loves her, which surprises Joanna. She is confused by his presence and even more confused by his actions. But soon enough, when the guilt subsides, he notices Joanna’s expensive party heels and the most seducing underwear on her body. Now it is his turn to be confused, and the movie rolls the credits just as Joanna is about to dive into her nighttime ventures.
The movie wastes no time getting into the story’s core premise and leaves out a few main things that could have added so much to the story. One is that the writers barely reveal any information about the couple’s marital life.
We are in the dark regarding their marriage life, so when the two cheat, we do not realize its impact on their lives. Much like the marriage, not much is revealed about Knightley and Worthington’s characters.
The theme of infidelity has taken over the story so much that the makers barely put focus on anything else. Take away the premise of a cheating couple, leaving you with absolutely nothing in the film. Tadjedin ends the movie just as Joanna is about to reveal her secret to her husband, but we never see her confess.
It is a bold way of ending a film, leaving the audience with questions. By the end, Joanna and Michael know things have changed between them. They try to gather the scrapes of the relationship to put everything back to normal, to put a cover of some sort over the acts of infidelity.
The end of the movie reveals one important thing: it was never about how indulging in infidelity would impact their relationship and how big the blow of their divorce might be; still, it was always about how a couple even reaches that point in their marriage where thoughts of being unfaithful start invading your mind.