“I don’t wanna be perfect, I wanna be us.”
I’m just going to come out and say it- after I heard that line, I knew that The One I Love would be one of my favorite films of the year. Wrapped up in what might typically be conflicting genres, the film succeeds in playing to both the “romantic comedy” and “sci-fi” audiences. As someone who can’t help but root for the underdogs, I found inspiration from its “Little Engine That Could” film-making attitude. A truly independent film, director Charlie McDowell takes the simplicity of the script and creates a rich and colorful world that is sure to leave audiences affected.
For our interview with Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss, click HERE.
Relationship pitfalls and insecurities in movies are some of the most commonly seen story lines, and making them seem believable should be considered an art. In that sense, McDowell is an artist- in pairing up indie funny man Mark Duplass with Mad Men‘s Elisabeth Moss, this unlikely screen duo play off of each other’s energy, which is sure to leave audiences mesmerized by their standout performances. They act alongside each other as husband and wife (almost) the entirety of the film, but not once does their presence dull or feel worn out.
Every person who watches it will take away something different, but all would argue it feels extremely personal.
Duplass plays Ethan, who is struggling to maintain his relationship with his wife Sophie, played by Moss. They seek counseling from their couples therapist, played by Ted Danson, who recommends the pair take a retreat to a beautiful vacation house, the ideal place to work out problems and fall in love again. Heading this advice, Ethan and Sophie find themselves in paradise and soon begin to reconnect. However, not everything is as it seems- upon realizing suspicious activity from the guest house, Ethan and Sophie are forced into self-reflection, for the first time acknowledging whether or not they have been living as who they want to be, or who they actually are.
This meta-eqsue situation fuels the rest of the film, creating a palpable tension that completely pays off in the film’s ending. The One I Love touches on the cynical side of relationships that we have all felt at one point, but couldn’t find the words to express them. Feelings of being in a relationship, but still feeling alone, is the most pertinent. Every person who watches this film will take away something different, but all would argue it feels extremely personal. Not only is this a well-executed film, it may be a therapy session you didn’t know you needed.
For our interview with Director Charlie McDowell and Writer Justin Lader, click HERE.
I would be extremely humbled if I was McDowell; The One I Love is his directorial debut and from the very beginning, it has been met with positivity. His ability to take a light script and turn it into a heavy, philosophical, and extremely deep film is beyond talented. It’s evident that most of the script was left open to the actor’s input, as McDowell and screenwriter Justin Lader encouraged Duplass and Moss to improvise most scenes. This creates natural and organic dialogue that produces vulnerability within the characters.
Part of the film’s brilliance evolved after it wrapped, and was due to the reaction from its Sundance premiere. As journalists wrapped up their positive reviews, a truly unique thing happened- no one wanted to spoil the ending. Even when I attended the screening a month ago, I was under a strict embargo to not discuss the film or its plot. At first, I didn’t understand why, or bigger yet, how I was going to write a review about a film I couldn’t freely discuss. However, after the screening, it became clear to me that the only way to get the best experience is going into it completely unaware. So for the sake of the filmmakers, the movie, and your own enjoyment, I can only highly recommend you see it for yourself.