A new angle for love triangles

Three Night Stand is a romantic comedy that strives to break the mould

Montreal director Pat Kiely calls his film Three Night Stand “a romantic comedy that delivers something unexpected” in a style akin to Woody Allen.

The film follows young husband and wife Carl (Sam Huntington) and Sue (Meaghan Rath) as they embark on what is supposed to be a romantic getaway at a Quebec ski lodge to spice up their fizzling marriage. Things go awry when the couple arrives and Carl discovers the owner of the lodge is his ex-flame Robyn (Emmanuelle Chriqui) with whom he is secretly obsessed.

Robyn is Carl’s “white buffalo” — the one who got away explains Kiely — which was also the original title of the film until Kiely was convinced the term was too obscure and didn’t reflect what the film was really about.

Rather one of the major themes of the movie is the idea of the past versus the present. “You think that you’re a better person in the past” says Kiely. “Maybe someone who was in your life back then propped you up and made you the person you want to be in the present.”

He adds that Carl’s character “dabbles in this idea of retreating and going back in time when actually what you need to do is move forward [and] reinvent yourself in a new way rather than rewinding.” The lodge setting reflects this idea of going back in time by having a ’70s vibe with softer filters and music played over record players.

The notion of reinvention wasn’t just a feature in the film it was also a part of Kiely’s creative process. Three Night Stand is the first film Kiely both wrote and directed on his own and he says he was initially wrapped up in trying to write bigger budget Hollywood fare. In the end however he based the characters and their experiences on himself and his friends in an effort to make them more believable and relatable. It’s something he thinks makes the film more honest.

It wasn’t only the writing that he struggled with — Kiely also had to confront his love-hate relationship with romantic comedies. “I love the promise of them and they always disappoint” he says.

So while Three Night Stand was never intended to be that kind of movie like most creative projects Kiely was forced to follow its evolution and attempt to twist the genre to his own ends. “Hopefully it stays away from all the stereotypical tropes” he says.

Three Night Stand will be playing April 9 at 7 p.m. at the Plaza Theatre for the Calgary Underground Film Festival.