comScore The One I Love Review | The Mary Sue
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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?

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