Hulu’s new film, Palm Springs, starring Andy Samberg & Cristin Milioti, Feels Familiar After Quarantine

Written by: Danica Creahan – July 13th, 2020 5:37 pm pst

Credit: Hulu

When a boyish, hawaiian shirt adorned Nyles steps in to save tipsy, taken-by-surprise maid of honor, Sarah, all the rom-com feels come out to play. I, for one, was fully ready to watch these two fall in love in Palm Springs and inevitably throw a wedding just like the one they both appear exasperated to be attending, but director Max Barbakow and screenwriter Andy Siara had different plans, and the couple fall down a slightly darker path… well, cave, if you wanna get technical about it. Starring Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti, Hulu’s Palm Springs delivers a sci-fi style homage to Groundhog Day dressed up in all the rom-com tropes that gives viewers a feeling of familiarity that couldn’t possibly have been intended, but nevertheless makes it even more worth the watch… 

Warning! major *spoilers* ahead

Beyond the classic time-loop bit, Palm Springs gave me this deja-vu feeling that I struggled to place for a good portion of the film. It wasn’t until I reached the point when Sarah and an indulgent Nyles finally finish playing out all their escape ideas that I realized what it was: their desert getaway time-loop is eerily similar to the past few months of quarantine- and not just because they’re boozed up for most of the movie.  

Photo from IMDB

As the characters realize they’ve got plenty of time to kill, they develop some new (and relatable) hobbies, including: choreographing a full dance routine for their dive bar buddies, giving one another some truly terrible stick-and-poke tattoos, and grand-theft-airplane.  Now is stealing and crashing an airplane the same as obsessively baking banana bread? No. But they both certainly come out of left field for their respective participants.

Images © Hulu

Falsely-nonchalant Nyles appears to us first in swim trunks and a hawaiian shirt, classic Palm Springs pool time garb, but a bit odd for a wedding guest. But as we gain insight into his time trapped in the loop, we see his wardrobe devolve from the original suit and tie as he’s slowly given up over the countless repeated days- sound familiar? The few other phases of his wedding attire that we get to see certainly speak to various versions of Zoom meetings we’ve all had: think dress shirt, no pants. 

Photo from IMDB

Sarah takes a different, perhaps less familiar and more aspirational turn, by getting deeply into quantum physics to find her own way out of the loop. We’re never sure just how much of her time she spends obsessively learning, but we see her become expert enough to hold her own in a video call with Clifford Johnson, an actual theoretical physicist who has acted as a scientific consultant on a number of Marvel Studios films. Perhaps we haven’t all gained in-depth science knowledge since March, but we all certainly had comparable ambitions for our sudden surplus of time- how are everyone’s screenplays going?

Possibly the most relatable aspect of the film is the lack of awareness around time. Throughout the film, the duplicate days blur in such a way that it’s impossible to gage how long Sarah and Nyles have been in the loop. Plus, we never find out how long Nyles had been living the same day before Sarah followed him into the fateful cave, though it’s certainly so long that he forgets about how he was before being trapped. The loss of identity is something I’m sure we can all sympathize with as we cut our own hair and watch other parts of the world begin to reopen without us. 

And the final eerie correlation, the way out of Nyle and Sarah’s dinosaur-ridden, day-repeating desert, is through a leap of faith commitment to science. It is only through Sarah’s dedicated research and pursuit of understanding, and her and Nyle’s trust in the theory she developed, that they are able to break out of the cycle. While there are many fan theories about what’s waiting for them outside of the literal hole in space time that they escape, there’s no doubt they’ve finally reached some sort of “tomorrow” by the time the credits roll. 

Watching Nyle and Sarah escape their groundhog day is certainly cathartic in this time where some of us still feel that we are in ours. Knowing that, through science, we’ll break out of this loop… one of these days. 

Photo from IMDB

If you’re a fan of Hulu’s film Palm Springs share this article with a friend! Make sure to keep up to date with Popcorn Talk for the latest info on movie entertainment news.

About The Author:

Danica Creahan is a student of Journalism at Loyola Marymount University and Intern at AfterBuzz TV with a passion for story-telling and rewatching 90’s TV shows.

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