Review August 08, 2014
Reviewer: Catherine Siggins

The One I Love
Director Charlie McDowell
Starring Elizabeth Moss, Mark Duplass, & Ted Danson.

On general release from the 22nd August comes the deeply satisfying and funny feature debut of emerging director Charlie McDowell, The One I Love.

Young married couple, Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elizabeth Moss), are in crisis. Much to their disappointment, their marriage didn't turn out to be the couples equivalent of Ferris Bueller's Day Off as it had promised at the start. It's been just over a year of marriage and the thrill they felt when they first met, brought on by a midnight adventure of being caught trespassing in a neighbors pool, has given way to the suspicion that they may have made a mistake, and a desiderium to reclaim that feeling, no more so as Ethan strayed off the reservation in search of thrills with another. To save the sinking ship, they go seek the help of an overly candid couples therapist (Ted Danson), who in the shadow of dissonant defeat, sends them on a weekend to an idyllic house retreat, a place so romantic, so special he tells them, it has been the saving grace of many of his clients marriages. A beautiful home, achingly stylish in lush gardens, with pool, and guest house over the hedge. 

From there the film unfolds how you would expect. Ethan and Sophie engage in the usual romantic activities, and loaded conversations, of a couple on a mission to rekindle romance. There is hope. However, while exploring the grounds, Sophie enters the guest house and has rather an unexpected experience, that is everything and more then she hoped for, but sets in motion the true test to their marriage, and perhaps their very understanding of themselves.

To say more would totally spoil this film, which is part romantic comedy, part fantasy, and definitely as they say in the film, something out of the Twilight Zone. This well crafted indie dramedy is a surprise, although the quality of the performances is everything you would expect from it's stars, Moss and Duplass. These actors work fantastically together, a fine mixture of chemistry and emotional depth. One can't help but get caught up with them in their struggle between their commitment to each other and their hearts desire.

Beautifully shot on location by seasoned cinematographer Doug Emmett at a friends property in Ojai, where McDowell grew up, this film was a hit at Sundance this year, and has rightly earned McDowell much praise. Screenwriter Justin Lader and director have in this film asked questions very much on contemporary adults minds, how to have a successful marriage and keep the chemistry alive, though sprinkled with essence of the surreal. 

Apart from being highly enjoyable, I can guarantee this movie most certainly will create some lively aprés-movie conversation. 


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