Film Review: The One I Love (2014)

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Ooo, this is a good one. A really, really good one. I don’t want to reveal too much – if anything – of the plot, because the chief joy is wondering how it will develop, and how it will end. Essentially Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) are a thirty-something couple going through tough times after he cheated on her. They need a relationship boost, and their therapist (Ted Danson) recommends that they spend the weekend at his personal retreat. The weekend house seems to work miracles – all of the couples sent there in the past have come back with their love for each other utterly renewed. The weekend starts inoccuously enough – until Sophie talks to Ethan about the great make-up sex they just had, which he insists never happened. But it did, it really did – we the viewers just saw it! He doesn’t appear to be lying though. That’s when things start to get weird. Really, really weird.

Well, that’s all I’ll say about the plot, except that it takes a pretty splendid concept and totally runs with it, exploring the physical potentials and psychological after-effects of its hook so that the film becomes a kind of totally down-to-earth, straight-faced science-fiction that doesn’t need to worry about explaining just how any of this is possible and instead focusing on all the ‘what if?s’ that are all there to explore. Seriously, the film is often gleefully mind-scrambling, and you end up as excited (or as freaked out) as the main characters as to what all of this could do to their relationship. There’s a small cast here, and the leads are excellent, responding to their situation quite naturally and fascinatingly. Duplass gets the biggest opportunity to show his range as the film progresses, and even though the film resorts to a pair of spectacles to help the viewer with all the madness (don’t worry, that does make sense upon viewing), Duplass’ performance is more than good enough to convince us anyways. Moss is just as good, and the chemistry she has with her co-star becomes more and more complex as we go on. The script is excellent, hitting the right notes of comedy, farce, drama and simmering tension – the ending is totally satisfying and lingers long in the mind.

Blimey, this is a frustratingly closed review, isn’t it? Well, I’ll be recommending it to others in the same way. The less you know, the odds are the more you’ll love it. Just watch, and enjoy the ride.

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