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Review: I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight

September 7, 2020

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Iris (Hera Nalam) and Simon (Kristian Jordan), the lead characters in Canadian writer/director Sean Garrity’s new Winnipeg-set romantic comedy I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight, have a very Canadian meet cute while helping push a car out of a snowbank.

With the scarf pulled up over his face, Iris mistakes Simon for someone that she met at a party, leading to an awkward moment when she realizes that he is a complete stranger. They decide to go for drinks, and Iris has a radical proposition; they can tell each other anything they want, no matter how private or secret, because they are never going to see each other again after that night.

It’s a solid rom-com setup, even though we pretty much know what is going to happen next. Iris and Simon both can’t stop thinking about each other, but have no way to get back in touch, having not exchanged numbers or even last names. Which leads to their second meet cute, this time at a sandwich shop. This time they do exchange numbers and start a relationship, but there are complications and misunderstandings, as Iris tries to meet the expectations of her Filipino family, and Simon grapples with his own emotional insecurity.

The ethnicity of the film’s protagonist is part of what makes it unique. It’s not often you see a Filipino lead in a romantic comedy, and a good deal of the film finds Iris interacting with her Filipino-Canadian family, as they prepare for the wedding of her sister Agnes (Andrea Macasaet). Garrity noted in an email that 20 out of the film’s 29 cast members are Filipino-Canadian, and this sort of representation is important. It also helps reflect the diversity of people living in Canada.

Garrity, who previously made the raunchy comedy My Awkward Sexual Adventure and the tender drama Borealis, knows how to stage these sorts of small character-driven films, and there are elements of both comedy and drama in his latest. The film is very much a rom-com in terms of plot structure, and features many of the expected tropes of the genre. But there is also something more interesting going on behind it, with Simon being somewhat more elusive than the typical romantic lead, which leads to a dramatic curveball in the second half that I thought worked.

Capturing some of the specificities of both Canadian and Filipino culture, I found I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight to be an enjoyable film to watch. It’s carried by fine performances from Nalam and Jordan, both in their breakout roles, and the relationship it portrays feels authentic and believable. It’s altogether a very watchable Canadian film.

I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight is now playing in select theatres across Canada. It’s being distributed in Canada by Mongrel Media.

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