Sunday, January 11, 2015

Movie Review - The One I Love

The One I Love (2014)
Starring Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, and Ted Danson
Directed by Charlie McDowell
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

The less said about The One I Love, the better in terms of its plot.  Let's just say that married couple Ethan and Sophie (Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss) have hit a rough patch.  Ethan cheated on her and Sophie is having a tough time forgiving so their therapist (Ted Danson) sends them to a secluded house in the lovely California hills for a romantic couples weekend.  There, they find themselves reconnecting, but also are forced to deal with a very unusual situation that could either hinder or help their relationship.

Difficult to discuss without spoiling things, The One I Love is a unique spin on the relationship drama -- I've certainly never seen anything like it before.  About twenty minutes into the film, something weird happens and the flick takes us down a path that hasn't been trodden (to the best of my knowledge).  While I did find myself twiddling my thumbs a bit during the middle act, The One I Love does a really nice job of creating a believable relationship between Ethan and Sophie at all points in the film.  As they fight at the beginning, I believed their contentiousness, but also believed they wanted to work it out.  As they begin to reconcile, I bought into their rediscovered joy.  As weird stuff begins to happen at the retreat, I understood their reactions to it and how it affected their connection with one another.  Kudos to first-time screenwriter Justin Lader for crafting characters that I could buy into and giving them relatable dialog despite the somewhat unrelatable situation going on around them.

The fim is essentially a two character piece and Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss bring Lader's words to life in a way that feels genuine.  I was drawn in right away by Duplass and Moss who have much more to do here than I can actually discuss.  The film gives them an opportunity to push their characters' boundaries a bit and both actors succeed.

Admittedly, there are times one when ponders whether The One I Love may have fared better as a short film.  While that wouldn't have allowed us to see the progression of Ethan and Sophie's relationship, the twisted premise does wear a little thin at moments.  Still, debut director Charlie McDowell does a nice job getting great performances from his (essentially) two member cast in this wholly unique take on a troubled relationship.

The RyMickey Rating:  B


  1. When I saw this, there was a power surge in theatre at time near end where Ethan and Sophie are upstairs in the house discussing future/making a decision. When they started up film again, picture was still out while sound frustratingly played on. Without ruining the carefully spoiler-freeness of your review, I'll just conclude by saying that when picture did come back on, the setting had changed from in house to outdoors in driveway/front of house, and I was confused/had lost my bearings. Bummer. Anyway, I really liked this movie. I wouldn't stop talking about it for maybe an hour and a half after getting out. And I of the not-really-going-to-see-movie-more-than-once-in-theatre disposition wished we had it for another week so I could watch it ALL THE TIMES (maybe a little over-emphasized, but I did find it really interesting--as dull a word as "interesting" is).

  2. We can totally talk spoilers in the comments.

    First, this one would be a totally crappy movie to have the power go out. I feel like I'd be completely lost.

    Second, let's talk the ending if you remember it. Do you think the Sophie that was outside of the vacation home was Ethan's wife or the Sophie from the "compound." She says she's going to cook him bacon and eggs whereas wife Sophie was adamant about not cooking him eggs.

    In the grand scheme of things, I don't think it matters. In fact, I enjoy the questioning of it better and found the ending to be a pleasant little twist.

  3. First--thought it was compound-Sophie (grammatical pun!). Because of the more perfected look the Sophie outside of the vacation home had at the end, which wife-Sophie generally didn't have throughout film (which I guess wife-Sophie could have just decided to be more meticulous about her appearance after seeing how compound-Sophie was and Ethan's reaction to it), but then really because of the smell-of-bacon/I-won't-cook-it thing (was it eggs?).

    Second--it was totally crappy. They were upstairs in the house. Then the picture cut out and there was just the sound of scuffling (two Ethans fighting). At first I thought it was just part of the movie--like, intentionally blanking the screen so we couldn't follow who was who when it came back on. But then it's still out... and then the sound cuts... So when it came back on they were out on the driveway an an Ethan was on the ground. Booo. I of course made sure to rewatch that part at some point during the week that we had it. Really looking forward to re-seeing on Netflix.