You Need to See The One I Love, And I Can’t Tell You Why

Can you not just trust me?!

the one i love

There’s a limit to what I can tell you about indie sci-fi flick The One I Love, out in theaters today. One: It stars Mark Duplass and Elizabeth Moss as an estranged couple who spend a weekend in a remote cabin so they can deal with their marital problems. Two: It is not the cookie-cutter relationship dramedy point number one makes it sound like. Three: …No, that’s it.

See, if you’ve heard anything about The One I Love, you’ve heard that there’s a twist. And it’s not like a “Benedict Cumberbatch is playing… it’s not Khan… no, I swear it’s not Khan… it’s… KHAAAAAAAN” sort of thing. If anything, it’s more Shyamalan-y, but it happens pretty early on and literally affects what the entire film is about, which makes writing about The One I Love really frakking difficult. So I’m going to cash in some of my movie reviewer credibility points (I hated Transformers: Age of Extinction! You probably agree with me about that one, at least!) and ask you to please trust me and give The One I Love a shot.

First and foremost, it’s just a good movie. It’s unique. It’s well-acted. Director Charlie McDowell (check back for my interview with him on Monday) did the first-timers’ trick of going with a script with a small number of locations and characters, but while the plot is bare-bones, it’s really well fleshed-out. Ditto the characters: Ethan (Duplass) and Sophie (Moss) are remarkably three-dimensional—you never get bored despite the fact that you basically follow them around for 90 minutes.

If you need a little more, I can tell you that The One I Love is similar to films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich. They’re what I like to call “stealth sci-fi” films, or films that deal with everyday problems and issues—a marriage falling apart or trying to get over a breakup, for example—in a somewhat fantastical way. While I love a good space adventure—oh, do I–stealth sci-fi tickles my pickle as well, because it tends to inject the sci-fi genre with a dose of much-needed originality.

I refer to The One I Love as sci-fi, but at its heart it’s a relationship drama that’s also quite funny. It doesn’t fit into a box. Most films do—you watch them, and you know what to expect. Hell, you probably like what you expect, which is why you’re seeing the movie. There’s nothing wrong with promising a ’70s political thriller superhero movie and delivering a ’70s political thriller superhero movie, or promising Giant Monsters vs Giant Robots: The Movie and delivering Giant Monsters vs Giant Robots: The Movie. I’m not trying to be all snooty here. I like both those films I linked.

But there’s just something refreshing, at least for me, about going to a movie and not knowing what it’s going to be, even down to its genre. It opens you up to the possibilities of storytelling, of film as a medium. It’s different. The One I Love is available on iTunes now and comes out limited release across the US on the 22nd, so if you’re in a city with limited access to indie films (oh, I feel you), you can still see this one. You should still see this one. Indie sci-fi needs our support, and the best way to provide it, as always, is with our wallets.

What, were you going to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Are you following The Mary Sue on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, & Google +?

Have a tip we should know?

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: