The One I Love.
Here’s the thing. This movie is best seen without any context. One of my buddies (shoutout to Narek) just told me to see it. And I went onto Netflix and gave it a shot. If you’re bored, just go do that and then come back here and see if we agree on the movie.
If you’re not convinced, go ahead and read my review, but it will give away a few concepts that happen very early on but are pretty essential to cover, in order to talk about anything else.
There’s trouble in paradise for married couple Ethan and Sophie (Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss). Their marriage counselor (Ted Danson) sends them to a retreat getaway for them to rediscover love but things get complicated. As they’re exploring the property, they find a guest house with some unusual capabilities. When one of them steps into the guest house, they’re greeted by the ideal and perfect version of their spouse. This only works with one of them and while someone’s inside, the house is on lockdown to everyone trying to get in. It’s a paradise but things become complicated when these two start to question who these identical beings are, how they know so much, and what they really want.
There are basically only two actors in this, aside from the one scene with Ted Danson. I was impressed with Mark Duplass in Safety Not Guaranteed but I didn’t watch Mad Men long enough to feel anything about Elisabeth Moss. But they both nail it here. It’s absolutely fascinating to see them play their normal characters and then this idolized version of themselves (most notably in Duplass’ case). On a technical aspect, it’s also really impressive how seamless they appear next to themselves in some scenarios. Very subtle but great technical achievements here.
On a script level, this movie is unique and it’s no mystery why it never hit theaters nationally. It can be disturbing. Some people won’t like it. It plays like an episode of Black Mirror (also streaming on Netflix now). This movie shows us something that can only be done in a movie like this. Do we fall in love with people? Or do we fall in the love with the idea of that person, the best possible version of that person? This movie asks those questions in a way that can be uncomfortable but is ultimately satisfying.
The ending of the movie also happens in a Twilight Zone kind of way, that may not satisfy all viewers. It’s not wrapped up in a nice bow with everything explained. I liked it though, as some questions are better left unanswered (hence why I enjoyed the finale to Lost).
What doesn’t work?
While I enjoyed these facets, some might find problems with the ending and the explanations offered. It can also be a difficult and uncomfortable movie, so it’s not for those in the mood for something light and fluffy. This movie is a thinker but rewards those of you willing to think.
This little gem somehow slipped past people and ended up on Netflix. I enjoyed it very much, as it asks big questions in a way that is unique but still engaging. There are great performances by both leads and I have a feeling like some of you will really like this movie. So if you’re bored and want something extremely unique and something that will make you think from a whole new perspective, check out The One I Love.