by Erik Sean McGiven on Jun 30, 2014
On the brink of separation, Ethan and Sophie find hope in
couple's therapy. Their therapist (Ted
Danson) suggests "resetting" their marriage at a countryside retreat,
which he guarantees, will restore what's missing. This seems a viable solution, as they can't
remember the last time they had sex and what little happiness they have is
found in recalling the past.
The couple played by Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) and Mark
Duplass (The League) arrive as this spacious vacation home where they began
rekindling their romance. Maybe a break
from city life is exactly what they need.
The place is well stocked with food, wine and weed. Sophie cooks dinner,
add a little music, some weed and great conversation, the retreat is off to a
wonderful start. Sophie takes a walk and
finds a guesthouse. Venturing inside,
she finds Ethan and they make passionate love.
However, when she returns to the house, she finds Ethan
sound asleep on the couch. She wonders
how he got there so quickly. Questioning
him, she finds he has no memory of what happened in the guesthouse. The wounded
relationship festers and suspicions resurface.
The next day Ethan tours the grounds and locates the guesthouse. He enters and finds Sophie waiting for him
making breakfast. Something's off, as
she's cooked bacon, a thing she previously loathed doing. Ethan thinks things are on the mend.
Such strange occurrences continued until the real couple
confines in each other about the duplicate couple they are encountering. A couple that is almost a clone. This is where the story picks up as they are
trying to outsmart what appears to be themselves. One is able to keep track of
these strange situations appearing in almost parallel universes by observing
the different wardrobes and slightly different hairstyles for Sophie and
Ethan. The personalities are a little
different too with the duplicates being more open and forthright.
It's tough to reveal the rest of the plot details without
destroying ones enjoyment of the film. The satisfaction of this film is
observing how this couple addresses their marriage problems and the reasons for
its deterioration. The performances are
highly memorable having solid depth and a lot of humanity. The genre glides effortlessly between drama
and comedy and the cast shows how adept they are at both. The storytelling is witty, authentic and
emotionally based a tribute to the actors improvising much of their dialogue
from Justin Lader's 50-page script.
There is some repetitiveness one might find annoying, but for the most
part the story moves along nicely building to a climatic surprising ending, one
that sneaks up on you.
"The One I Love" is a journey into genres
incorporating romantic-comedy, drama and sci-fi/fantasy elements, one guided
skillfully by Charlie McDowell with surprising directorial confidence. The production credits are admirable and
beautifully done, especially in view of its low budget and short shooting
schedule. Reviewed at the Los Angeles Film
Festival. The 91-minute film is
scheduled to open August 15th,
CREDITS: Cast: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson;
Director: Charlie McDowell; Screenwriter: Justin Lader; Producer; Mel Eslyn;
Executive Producers: Mark Duplass, Jay Duplass, Charlie McDowell, & Justin
Lader; Directory of Photography: Doug Emmett; Production Designer: Theresa
Guleserian; Art Director: Erika Toth; Costume Designer: Bree Daniel; Editor:
Jennifer Lilly; Sound: Sean O'Malley; Re-recording Mixer; Gene Park; Visual
Effects Supervisor: Stefan Scherperel; Music: Danny Densi, Saunder Jurrianns; A
Duplass Brother Production. Distributed
by: Radius - TWC; Run Time: 91-minutes.