Published author Charlie McDowell’s directorial debut, The One I Love is an enigmatic and uncanny rom-com with traces of mystery and drama – centered on two leading characters, played with dejection and wit by Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss.
The plot is frivolous and eccentric interwoven with subtle surreal and supernatural elements that propelled its anecdote. It is tremendously about individuality and relationship, association and fate. You might conjure up a vision of Master of Suspense – Alfred Hitchcock’s surrealist ideas; far-fetched suspense, mordant entertainment and mocking-laughs.
The movie opens with Sophie (Moss) and Ethan (Duplass) ostensibly on the verge of a split-up, seeking assistance from a marriage guidance counsellor played by Ted Danson. They wanted to find out the real reason behind their discontented relationship. The unconventional counsellor suggests spending a weekend away from hectic life to reconnect. He sends them to a peaceful house with stunning countryside landscape, dazzling pool and an old-fashioned guest-house.
The movie unfolds in this background where the couple spending time together and dealing with gloomy relationship.
Writer Justin Lader’s script further delves into couple’s great effort to determine what sort of adjustments and alterations their bond requires. However, soon things go weird, yeah; going into the harmless guest-house might not be a wise decision. Actually, it miraculously fastens one thing to another.
The surreal events merely escalate from there, whenever one of husband or wife goes in guest-house unaccompanied; they are met by a carbon-copy of their spouse, the duplicate looks similar in all habits except the bitterness and hostility in behaviour. As a matter of fact, the duplicate versions seem much happier, intelligent and modish for instance, identical Ethan made real Sophie’s portraits in Degas style. Similarly, Identical Sophie persuades real Ethan to have a bacon meal.
The sighting of guest-house couple totally freaks both real duos out. It becomes more puzzling when they respond to perplexing conditions in entirely diverse ways. One wants to take a chance to experience the pleasure and thrill it might bring, while the other develops qualms plus fears and started playing detective’s character.
You might have a little bit idea what to expect from a horror movie, but director McDowell superbly handles the plot to create mystery and pressure throughout the sequences of spying and hiding. There’s a valid intention of referencing Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone theme as storyline gives details of sanity and insanity, the real and the unreal without losing accurateness.
At times, it becomes a little bit eerie but that is parity for the course with movies like these. However, the compelling story with small cast and low budget has lots of twists in it; these will keep you evaluating from the start till the end.
The unusual incidents make the best combo of spectacular performances. The leading pair, Duplass and Moss crafted a very genuine charismatic on-screen chemistry, you can see how utterly uninterested they are with their living conditions and with each other. It is tough to deny; they both created flamboyantly precise characters with immense depth and compassion. You may relate Duplass with wittiness and Moss with sober performance. The movie actually gives each of the actors ample room to breathe and demonstrate considerable comedy and serious drama traits.
Saunder Jurriaans and Danny Bensi composed its soundtrack. The exquisite closing song with subtle lyrics – ‘Dedicated To The One I Love’ by The Mamas and The Papas is perfectly in harmony with movie’s theme of affection and relationship. Its a song you can listen to over and over again, without getting bored of.
The debut venture of McDowell and Lader along with Doug Emmett’s gloomy cinematography with dull shades, in-fact elevates spectators’ mood with lots of smiles and riddles.
In totality, The One I Love is an unpredictable and unforgettable 90 minute story which is scintillatingly fun to watch. It would be a breath of fresh air for lovers of romcom genre, being sophisticated, witty and tragic. It is a quirky romantic movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I would rate it 3.5 out of five.