Synopsis – Struggling with a marriage on the brink of falling apart, a couple escapes for a weekend in pursuit of their better selves, only to discover an unusual dilemma that awaits them.
My Take – Firstly, I got to make this clear that this film is not for everybody! Yes, it is very interesting but maybe a bit too deep for general audience to perceive. The excellent reviews of this film is what actually got me in to watching this, as the trailers don’t reveal (or spoil) any of the premise nor gives a hint to prepare yourself for the ride you are entering into. The story follows troubled married couple Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss), who are recommended a weekend alone at a private country estate by their lead therapist (Ted Danson). Sophie wants to reignite that early relationship spark and Ethan just wants things back to normal. The night starts off great with a romantic dinner but then things start to happen to each other without the other one remembering. What starts off as confusion becomes something that no one can or wants to believe.
The twists and turns in this film seriously takes marriage counseling to an entirely new spectrum. It hard to review such a film without giving out any spoilers, probably the best way to describe is that it reminds you of the very popular Twilight Zone. Much like the sixth sense it will be ruined if you know the twist. This is not a typical romantic comedy or even drama. Director Charlie McDowell and writer Justin Lader lull us into a movie-going comfort zone based on our experience with such Hollywood rom coms about reconnecting couples such as Couples Retreat & without any prior notice sounds us down a path we probably didn’t imagine getting into this movie. The script is especially brilliant, but it doesn’t spit its brilliance in your face constantly and then ask for your approval with laughter or the occasional tear. Instead, it dabbles in elements of Sci-Fi and Fantasy but doesn’t let the main characters (or the audience) off easily by subjugating the human story to questions of logistics. In other words, this isn’t a movie for the compulsively left-brained and anal. The performances and plot are engaging enough to make you accept this often absurd but always engaging film for what it is.The setting does justice to the script, as things aren’t all they seem as Ethan and Sophie bounce back and forth between the main house and guest house. It’s in these moments where the big relationship questions are addressed as the script is smart, funny, creative and dark. It’s not likely anyone can watch this without having some inner dialogue, and probably even some real discussion afterwards with their spouse. The whole movie revolves around this two actors, both with magnetic, awesome chemistry, getting to play a wide swath of emotions, albeit in how the particular ‘version’ goes from moment to moment (not unlike last year’s horrible The Double starring Jesse Eisenberg). It asks what a lot of the great movies ask about marriage: who is this person I am with, and can I continue to be with them the same way?
Mark Duplass (who also produced along with his brother) and Elizabeth Moss are excellently cast as Ethan and Sophie, two not-so-newlyweds who are encountering all too typical problems “relating.” They not only carry the film, but also take on significant responsibility with wide-ranging personality traits and subtle physical changes. Duplass is exceptional and easy for most guys to relate to in how he handles the challenges & Elizabeth Moss, makes sure her performance is quite impressive. Whether “together” or “apart”, they complement each other nicely. On the whole ‘The One I Love” is kind of film you’ll remember for a long time because it breaks so many boundaries. It’s the kind of film Spike Jonze or Christoper Nolan might have come up with! It takes guts to break the rules, even more talent to make it work, director Charlie McDowell just does that, by making a film that is fun, unique and interesting to really stand out!
Director – Charlie McDowell
Rated – R
Run Time – 91 minutes