Palm Springs, by Cameron J. Czaja

Whenever we think of films where the character repeats a single day, we automatically think of Groundhog Day (1993). Since there have been other films that somewhat follow that formula such as Edge of Tomorrow (2014) and Happy Death Day (2017) to name a few. The reason I bring this up is because the movie that I’m about to talk about, which is Palm Springs, repeats the same day. Was this good as the other films mentioned. Well, let me go into the plot some more and find out. Also, spoilers ahead.

In this time loop film called Palm Springs we follow Nyles (Andy Sandberg), who wakes up in a nice resort in Palm Springs on the day of a wedding. With him is his girlfriend Misty (Meredith Hagner) who happens to be one of the bridesmaids. Nyles seems to be a carefree guy who is just going through the motions of a wedding day. Later that night during the reception he starts talking to a girl named Sarah (Christin Milioti), and they eventually hook up. Just before they get real intimate, they are ambushed by a mysterious figure name Roy (J.K. Simmons) who wants to make Nyles suffer for reasons we don’t know at first. After being attacked by Roy, Nyles ends up near a glowing red cave and enters it. This prompts Sarah to follow him in though, Nyles warns her to stay away and turn around.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t listen and ends up being sucked into the red light. The next morning Sarah wakes up thinking it’s the next day but what she doesn’t know is that it the same day all over again.  Once she realizes something is wrong, she quickly confronts Nyles. He then explains that she’s now in a time loop and that he’s been stuck in it for some time. From there Sarah tries to figure out how to get out of the time loop while at the same time enjoy the benefits of repeating time with Nyles.

Palm Springs was a film that I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy at first. I enjoyed the time loop stuff quite a bit and liked how they made each day unique from the last. I think what made me skeptical was the main leads, especially the character of Nyles. He was a character to whom I really couldn’t relate.  He declared himself as an atheist during a random event in the film (red flag right there), and he lives his life in debauchery because of the situation that he’s in. 

It wasn’t until the third act of Palm Springs that I was sort of won over because of the message it presents. There’s a moment where Nyles visits Roy in his house and make amends with him. The reason Roy attacked Nyles earlier in the film is because he’s also in a time loop and Nyles was responsible for that incident. Roy tells Nyles that he’s given up trying to kill him and that life is something valuable and should always be cherished, especially with loved ones. This message was something I deeply admired and changed my perspective towards the characters. In the end, the film took a 180 and gave us characters that we wanted to root for.

I’m still not a hundred percent sure of how I feel about Palm Springs, but it is something I do want to revisit just to get a better perspective. Right now, it’s on Hulu and if you enjoy time loop films such as Groundhog Day, then you might find some value to it. It took me a while, but I eventually did.

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