Much of Friday Night takes place in a Paris traffic jam, and indeed the entire film feels like a daydream director Claire Denis may have had while stuck behind the wheel herself. Set entirely over the course of one evening and early morning, Friday Night follows a 30-something woman named Laure (Valerie Lemercier) who invites a stranger (Vincent Lindon) into her trapped car out of kindness and boredom. Chemistry strikes, and soon they’re spending an anonymous and impetuous night together. Denis – whose 1999 film Beau Travail turned a portrait of French Foreign Legion officers along the African coast into a rhapsody in blue – gives her movie such a singular vision that she renders obsolete any of the tawdriness or moralizing that’s normally associated with the idea of a one-night stand. For Laure, who we learn is moving in with her boyfriend the next day, the experience isn’t just rash, but vital. The first time we see her smile is early the next morning, as she heads back to her normal life and Denis captures her rebirth at dawn in the film’s lovely and perfect final frame. Friday Night puts us right there at that moment: filled with happiness, and seemingly free of consequences.