Saturday, 10 January 2015

The One I Love (tbc) | Film Review

The One I Love, dir. Charlie McDowell, wr. Justin Lader, St. Elizabeth Moss, Mark Duplass, Ted Danson

A neat little dissection on the versions of ourselves we reveal to others, and the versions of others we covet more than others, Charlie McDowell's two-hander gets off to a cracking, ingeniously intriguing start and, for the most part, sustains its tricksy premise without too much unravelling. In an attempt to restore their flagging marriage, Ethan (Duplass, threatening to wrestle the title from Chris Messina by being in "fucking everything") and Sophie (Moss) are packed off by their therapist (Danson) to an idyllic countryside retreat in order to reconnect. On arriving, the rekindling begins in earnest, thanks in part to what they discover in the retreat's guest cottage. To say more, even to muse upon the various genres that The One I Love shrewdly riffs upon, would be saying too much. Suffice to say that what might have been style over content, an elaborate napkin-scrawled premise, never truly possessing the weight of its own lofty ambitions, actually transpires to be a rather poignant and at times rather solemnly perecptive meditation on therapy, its effectiveness, and the effects of its self-administering. Moss in particular is always good at these kind of close-quarter relationship illustrations and Duplass too makes for an endearingly goofy other half, but the true terrifying investment of The One I Love may come from thinking about the one you love and assessing your capacity for compromise. It's not pretty for sure, but that's indeed the film's charming insidiousness.