How Many Days Does Nyles Relive In Palm Springs?

Just how long was Nyles really trapped in the time loop?

palm springs

Palm Springs is undeniably one of the most talked-about movies of the last year - a fiercely original riff on the oversaturated time loop genre, in which two wedding guests, Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti), find themselves trapped in a mysterious, seemingly inescapable temporal loop.

The big twist revealed early in the film, of course, is that Nyles has already been trapped in the loop for some time when Sarah also gets pulled into it, by way of a vortex located in a cave.

Ever since the film came out, fans have speculated on exactly how long Nyles spends in the loop before finally being set free with Sarah at film's end.

As with any good time loop movie, the mechanical particulars are kept vague to allow viewers to simply enjoy the ride, though director Max Barbakow and writer Andy Siara do nevertheless offer keen-eyed viewers plenty of clues as to how long Nyles has been semi-wilfully imprisoned in the loop.

From the sheer physical days depicted on screen to those whispered about and implied, and factoring in some wise words from the filmmakers themselves, it's time to find out once and for all how long Nyles spent in the loop...

6. Stage One: Primary Days

palm springs

Let's start with the simplest assessment - calculating the number of days that Nyles spends caught in the time loop in the linear continuity of the movie, from the day that Sarah joins the time loop to the day they both manage to break free.

Day 1: Sarah is sucked into the vortex. Day 2: Sarah freaks out and tries to visit the cave during the day. Day 3: Sarah drives to Austin and then goes to sleep. Day 4: Sarah kills herself and Nyles by driving into a truck. Day 5: Nyles explains the situation to Sarah at the bar, they talk about Roy (J.K. Simmons), sex, and karma to end the day. Day 6: Sarah's attempt to break the loop by acting selflessly fails, so she decides to goof off with Nyles.

Here's where things get a little more complicated. A montage depicts Nyles and Sarah basically committing to the repetition of the loop and just having fun with it.

However, the editing makes it difficult to ascertain a concrete passage of time throughout the montage, as we're not always shown Nyles or Sarah waking up to mark a new day, and the changing costumes and time of day leave things a little ambiguous.

Between their various shenanigans - including crashing a plane, performing an elaborate dance at the bar, getting tattoos, planting a bomb in the wedding cake, and finally having sex - it seems that either 7 or 8 days have passed. Given the sheer amount of things that happen, we'll settle on this bringing us to Day 14.

At this point the film briefly resumes to a more conventional, easy-to-follow continuity for Day 15, where Sarah runs in front of a truck after learning Nyles has hooked up with her before.

Next, the film depicts seven days from the separate perspectives of Nyles and Sarah after she takes off. This isn't to say these seven days are all consecutive or concurrent, but they're days that we objectively know take place:

Day 16: Nyles finds Sarah missing / she heads to the cafe to learn about quantum physics. Day 17: Nyles searches for her in the desert / she studies more. Day 18: Nyles lounges around on his own / Sarah's studying is starting to pay off. Day 19: Nyles freaks out at Sarah's family and passes out / Sarah studies the cave. Day 20: Nyles realises Sarah is sleeping with Abe (Tyler Hoechlin) / Sarah Skypes with a scientist / Day 21: Nyles attends the wedding, again / Sarah blows up the goat. Day 22: Nyles drives to see Roy / Sarah isn't featured here.

Things line up again for Day 23, where Sarah wakes Nyles up and explains her plan to exit the time loop, which of course is successful by day's end.

But there's so, so much more to this movie than the mere 23-day linearity. What about all those minor days briefly shown or mentioned verbally?...


Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.