Earlier today, I talked about the movie “Coherence”. I said that I ended up watching it completely by chance, but that’s not the whole truth. I discovered that movie looking for movies similar to “The One I Love”, which in turn I found through “What the Hell Should I Watch on Netflix”. I’m a big fan of movies that mess with your head and are open-ended, so you’re left thinking about the plot for a long time after you’ve finished watching it. This movie is a good example of that, and I’m going to share my non-spoiler-y thoughts about it with you.
The movie follows the story of Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss), a couple having marital problems that, by their therapist’s suggestion, end up going on a weekend getaway to try and solve them. When they get there, strange things happen and they get far more than they bargained for. Yep, this is a very vague description and one that doesn’t do much to pique anyone’s interest. But trust me: the strange things that happen are the actually cool part and knowing them beforehand would take away some of the enjoyment.
Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss are a major part of the reason this movie works. Just like in “Coherence”, there was much improvisation involved in the dialogues here, and that worked in favor of the chemistry between the actors and to make an unrealistic situation more plausible to the viewer. The unique quirks each of them brings to the table also made all the difference in the context of the narrative, where these quirks are absolutely necessary for things to make sense.
This was the directorial debut of Charlie McDowell, and in my opinion it was a very successful one. While the script written by Justin Lader was what gave way to multiple interpretations, many of the director’s choices about how to frame a scene, or how the characters should carry themselves worked along with the script to leave the viewer wondering about what they just watched. Without giving too much away, I also enjoyed how the movie didn’t attempt to venture too much into sci-fi territory, instead leaving the viewer just as confused as the characters about what was actually happening.
“The One I Love” is one of those pleasantly surprising movies, and one that works pretty well without large sets or casts. The kind of contrived nature of it allows you to reflect upon some bigger questions, and I particularly found myself exploring the possibilities of endings and what they meant for the characters and, ultimately, how are they applied to our regular lives. I definitely recommend giving this one a try, and I would really like it if you’d share your thoughts about it with me!
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