This One Goes Out To The One I Love, A Cool and Kooky Love Story.
It's really hard to dissect The One I Love — one of the best offbeat love stories I've seen in a long time — and not spoil the most important part of the plot. That bit really is the film's heart and soul.
No, I promise not to ruin the fun. I will, however, try my best to tell you what the film is about, why I adore it and why you really need to see it before someone else inevitably ruins the surprise for you.
The One I Love stars Mark Duplass (The League) and Elizabeth Moss (Mad Men) as Ethan and Sophie, a married couple in need of a major change of pace in their love lives. They're both unhappy and seeing a family therapist, played by a suspicious Ted Danson. At his strong suggestion, the two spend a weekend away from the city, work, friends and all the mumbo jumbo life has conveniently burdened them with. The Therapist gives them the keys to a romantic getaway home and, once they arrive, they learn that loving the person standing right in front of them is going to be a lot more complicated than they ever imagined.
There are only three actors in this film: Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Moss and Ted Danson. And with the exception of Danson's one scene, the entire movie is led by Duplass and Moss. Together onscreen, these two are powerful: They share energetic heart, courage, jealousy, anger and, by the end of the film, you will believe Ethan and Sophie truly love one another.
Moss in particular has a real subtle honesty about her. It's intoxicating. She is an actor who brings her A-game to every role she gets — and, truly, if this movie does not make her a star, nothing will.
Duplass, meanwhile, plays roughly the same character he does in The League, which is to say he's a little smarmy and rather quick-witted. But, throughout the course of the film, there's an ample and gentle change in his expressions. This, of course, is part of why he’s become one of the most in-demand young actors of our generation: His demeanor can explode with confidence or fold all the same with a slight shrug of the shoulders.
It also helps that director Charlie McDowell (yes, Malcolm's son) and writer Justin Lader have a story with a lot of guts here. The One I Love starts as the same, exceedingly familiar love story you've seen countless times before, but it's when we get to the real meat of the story that things get radically fearless. Granted: This is when things start to happen that I don't want to spoil for you. Just believe me when I say that McDowell, Lader and their team of actors are on all on board with this unique take on modern love. Instead of falling back on the familiar Hollywood formula, they gave something new a shot. And while it maybe won't work for everyone, it's still damn entertaining, to say the least.
Sure, The One I Love is a romantic comedy. But there's more heart to this one than in your run-of-the-mill chick flick. It's about all the feelings we go through when we're in love. More important, it's about falling in love with the same person in a whole new way.
This is a film you'll be discussing for hours — perhaps days — after walking out of the theater. The film's message, while subtle, is just too impossible to ignore. It's out of this world, a really sharp take on love.
So see it. And, by all means, please do so before some jerk spoils it for you.