“The One I Love” – A delight for fans of any genre
Written by: Justin Lader
Directed by: Charlie McDowell
Starring: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, and Ted Danson
“The One I Love” is the first feature film from writer/director duo Charlie McDowell and Justin Lader. Having now seen it, I hope they make many more films together and stick with the same sort of feeling this film has. It is simultaneously hilarious, tragic, and mind-bending much like films such as Michel Gondry’s “The Science of Sleep”.
Ethan (Duplass) and Sophie (Moss) are a young married couple who are drifting apart. They seek help in the form of a marriage counselor (Ted Danson) who sends them on a private retreat to a beautiful house in the California countryside. The idea is that getting away and reconnecting will reignite the spark in their marriage. They get much more than they bargained for though, and as a result the audience is given a surreal tutorial in what really matters in relationships.
Lader’s script dances the fine line between awe inspiring and frustrating. The result though is a well told story with a very unique concept on how to look at marriage or any long term relationship. The difference between loving the person you are with even for all of their faults or trying to change them into an idealized version of your perfect mate and the difficulties resulting from both are all shown here. It is a movie that could have fallen flat on it’s face, but instead succeeds in every aspect.
Duplass and Moss do an excellent job in their respective roles, and their chemistry is spot on. Duplass is the every man likeable guy we all know. It is Moss though who surprised me. She shows a lot of range in a somewhat demanding role. Overall, both do a good job at portraying a realistic couple struggling with the decisions and emotions that anyone faces in a relationship.
It is hard to go too far into the plot without spoilers. I will say though that this is a multi-layered film that could be best summed up as a sci-fi dark romantic comedy (kind of a mouth full). I really enjoyed this film, and highly recommend it. Watch, enjoy, and then discuss what you took from it.