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Saturday, April 26, 2014

THE ONE I LOVE: Tribeca Film Festival 2014 Review

Sophie & Ethan, Elisabeth Moss & Mark Duplass. Photographer: Doug Emmett
2014, 91 minutes
Not Rated

Review by Joshua Handler

Charlie McDowell's The One I Love starts as one movie before completely changing into another.  Starring Mark Duplass and Elizabeth Moss, the film tells the story of a couple whose marriage is on the rocks.  One day, the couple goes to see their therapist who tells them to go on a little getaway at a place that he recommends.  Once the couple gets there -

- and that's all I'm going to tell you.  This is a movie best unspoiled.  If you read many of the other reviews of this film published out of Sundance, they spoil the film's main narrative punch.  Going into this movie knowing as little as I told you above is the best way to view it, since the rest of the movie relies on that which I have withheld from you.

This is going to be an especially hard movie to review because so much of what makes it great comes from its twist, but I will keep this review completely spoiler-free and will do my best to review it.  Duplass and Moss are excellent.  Their comedic timing is sharp and their chemistry is strong, making their characters extremely likable.

Justin Lader's screenplay takes full advantage of its clever concept.  On the surface, it's amusing and clever, but on a deeper level, it's a moving meditation on marriage and love.  This film, in its own weird way, shows us how imperfections are one of the main aspects of another person that draws us to love them.

What's so smart about The One I Love is that it begins so generically.  While it is funny from the start, there's nothing to distinguish its opening from the openings of millions of other Sundance marriage trouble movies, as one critic wrote.  The genericness of the opening twenty minutes are used to catch us off-guard before throwing in a twist that literally changes everything that follows

Overall, The One I Love is a daring movie that must be seen to be believed.  As much as I would have loved to write a more in-depth and analytical review of this ingenious film, I will spare the spoilers and let you see just what makes this movie so insanely good.  I don't even want to post a section with a spoiler warning, as this means that there's a chance that I will spoil the movie for someone if they read carelessly.  RADiUS-TWC is releasing The One I Love on August 15, and if word of mouth is strong enough, it could be a sleeper hit.


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