(Cameron Crowe, USA, 1992)


One of the loveliest cinematic moments of the '90s happens in Singles.

Boy (Campbell Scott) meets girl (Kyra Sedgwick), and they strike up a tentative conversation on the street at night. Halfway through this exchange, the camera executes a long, slow movement across a magazine rack, taking in every current lifestyle fad that makes it into print, before coming to rest on the couple, happily vibing with each other. What sweet poetry!

Director-writer Cameron Crowe's comedy of contemporary romantic manners among the twentysomething crowd of Seattle is an underrated movie of its time. The situations and gags are geared to an everyday level of wishes, frustrations and misunderstandings, spread around a large number of characters. Matt Dillon and Bridget Fonda make an especially memorable love match.

What makes Crowe's work – like his marvellous directorial debut Say Anything (1989) and the script for Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) – ultimately so pleasing is its cultural precision. Singles is spot-on in its references to popular music, conversational psychobabble, urban architecture, you name it.

This is something that can be said of very few of the movies that are designed for mass entertainment.

MORE Crowe: Elizabethtown, Almost Famous

© Adrian Martin December 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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