New To Blu: The One I Love

This one goes out to the one I love....This one goes out to the one I've left behind.

"No one has vacuumed in weeks.
This floor is disgusting."
When you first fall in love with someone, you fall in love with the idealized version of them. As the relationship progresses, the mundane details and minutiae of life dampers the initial magic and enthusiasm of the union. What if you could recapture the fire and the passion of the earlier times? Could it help a flagging couple regain what they have lost over the years? The One I Love tries to explore this very idea; it’s a clever remix of the often clich├ęd romance genre and one of the more interesting indie films I have seen this year.

Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass play a married couple who are going through a low point in their marriage. They have been seeing a marriage counselor (played by Ted Danson) but it doesn’t seem to be helping much. The counselor suggests they go to a secluded house out in the countryside for a weekend getaway. Apparently, he has sent other couples out there and they have all come back with rekindled love for each other. At this point, the plot sounds like every other romance/drama ever made but the director definitely had other ideas. This is a high-concept film with a lot going on underneath the surface that isn’t readily apparent.

"Did I ever tell you how much your
breath stinks?"
Mark Duplass is always charming in every role he plays but he puts in a more nuanced performance this time around. Duplass and Moss have great chemistry together and you can relate to the problems and fears that they have. I’m not usually a fan of cutesy love stories but this one is complex and subversive in a way that really appealed to me. It’s just plain ingenious and well-written which takes it to another plane. By the end of the film it really gets under your skin and makes you contemplate the previous proceedings. This is director Charlie McDowell’s first film and quite impressive for a debut attempt.

Everything is shot in that “indie style” that everyone is familiar with. Soft focus, slight shaky cam, random shots of sunlight filtering through the leaves of trees swaying in the wind; you know the score. Speaking of the score, it’s pretty good. Nothing that particularly stands out but there is a cool electronic vibe going on. The writing is what really stands out here and gives the movie the push it needs to become something interesting. It does take a while to set the premise up, but once it gets going it’s easy to get drawn in. If you are in the mood to see a love story that’s quirky and just a little bit sinister, then The One I Love is right up your alley.

-Michelle Kisner