Falling and Failing
Camille (Pascale BussiÃ¨res - The Blue Butterfly) and Martin (Henry Czerny - Choices of the Heart) are both lecturers at a Christian College where they try to keep their relationship on the hush hush especially when they could be offered a joint promotion. But when Camille's dog dies she meets circus performer Petra (Rachael Crawford) who not only manufactures an opportunity for them to meet again but quickly declares her love for her. Despite conflicted feelings both religious and romantic she finds herself spending the night with Petra.
I purposefully left something out of that short synopsis of "When Night is Falling", that something is that when Camille discovers her dog dead she takes it home and places it in her fridge. Now firstly the dog does come back in to play later on in the movie but secondly is also very symbolic. And that is something you get a lot of throughout the movie, oddball stuff and symbolism. Sadly none of it is very subtle and that is another theme throughout the movie as it is consistently less than subtle in what it is saying, from sexual liberation to religious restriction.
Anyway I suppose I should get to what "When Night is Falling" is all about and as mentioned we are in the realms of sexual liberation with Camille who finds herself falling in love with the bohemian Petra. This brings her emotional and religious conflicts but decides to embrace the new passion she feels with Petra. And I have no objection to that at all as movies about sexual liberation can be interesting and entertaining except I have to say the less than subtle approach consistently sets it back.
That is not the only issue I have with "When Night is Falling" as writer and director Patricia Rozema also over indulges on the arts and odd. For those who enjoy movies which rather than keeping things classy and simple experiment with different camera angles for the same scene this will be fine but for me it ended up distracting. And then there is the acting and to be honest both Pascale BussiÃ¨res and Rachael Crawford are visual appealing but are saddled with characters who due to the lack of subtlety and artistic bent struggle to really come to the fore.
What this all boils down to is that "When Night is Falling" has a good storyline but the attempt to make a statement with heavy use of symbolism and artistic styling end up distracting and even spoiling the movie.