It's those hidden little gems that you discover that make the cinema such a vital and vibrant art form when you get blown away by some great entertainment. "The One I Love" starts off as one thing but evolves into something unique and original that has honestly never been seen before.
"The One I Love" takes us to a marriage on the brink of failure. So in a last ditch effort to rekindle the flame , Ethan and Sophie (Mark Duplass & Elizabeth Moss) escape to a beautiful vacation home on the recommendation of their therapist (Ted Danson). It begins as a fun and romantic retreat, but things get surreal pretty fast as some unexpected forces make them both look at their relationship and wonder if this marriage has a future as they know it.
An amazing debut feature from director Charlie McDowell and writer Justin Lader, "The One I Love" slyly plays with the conventions of marriage and relationships in such an interesting way that we can't help be overwhelmed by how damn sharp and original it all is.
Rarely do debut features get the opportunity to be so sharp, confident, self assured and funny without being rife with dumb gags or set ups and this is easily one of the more intelligent and smarter films that I have seen in recent memory. McDowell shoots it all in a glowing haze and makes it feel like a moment of fantasy that deals with all the incredible things that happen inside of it with an incredible amount of calm and logic. It would have been easy for a story like this to descend into some goofy territory, but the script from writer Justin Lader avoided all those traps. Our two primary characters never overacted or did anything that would be outrageous for anyone in any kind of relationship.
Both Mark Duplass and Elizabeth Moss were perfectly paired for this movie and carried the entire thing with amazing ease. We had to believe them at the beginning of the film as being a couple that had or were falling out of love and as we tracked them on what was supposed to be a romantic weekend which evolved into an incredibly involved investigation of their own relationships. Without giving away any spoilers, the entire thing almost played like a crime procedural. Duplass and Moss 100% sell everything that goes on from beginning to end and we accept this journey and get very invested in it as they are both great and play off of each other with exceptional energy and the carry the entire concept from start to finish.
"The One I Love" is one of those things that is hard to review without giving away any spoilers but if you want a funny, romantic and dramatic film that challenges the tired norms and finds a fresh way to keep us engaged, then this is it and then some as it is one of the more surprising films of the calendar year.
4 out of 5 stars.
"The One I Love" is now playing in theatres in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary as well as via major VOD platforms.