Review: ‘The One I Love’ Offers Strange, Intriguing Twist On The Indie-Romance Genre

Adam Reynoso ’15 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass in "The One I Love." Photo Credit: Radius-TWC.
Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass in The One I Love. Photo Credit: Radius-TWC.

It’s really difficult to say much about The One I Love without giving away the film’s twist, but it has so much else that works that there’s enough to say without spoiling that certain plot point. The One I Love is nothing like it’s been advertised. While it seems like another indie-romance, it is much more. It blends together different genres and the result is a strong film that explores a relationship and how easy it is to fall in love with the way things were in the past.

The film follows Ethan and Sophie, played by Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss respectively, as they go on a retreat to beautiful house in the country where they are trying to repair their marriage. While there, they find themselves having to deal with an unusual situation. And that’s about as much as can be divulged. The great thing about the film is that it has an interesting, out-of-the-box premise and it doesn’t try to explain too much. It doesn’t create unnecessary plot holes, but instead allows the audience to ponder the ambiguity of the film. It’s also an intricate character study of these two people and who they are as a couple.

Mark Duplass in "The One I Love." Photo Credit: Radius-TWC.
Mark Duplass in The One I Love. Photo Credit: Radius-TWC.

Since the film solely focuses on these two characters, the film really hinges on the actors’ performances. And both actors bring their characters to life in the right way. Duplass does an amazing job as the husband trying to win his wife back over, as well as being the only one of the two to really question what’s happening on their retreat. On the other hand, Moss gives an incredible performance and proves yet again how versatile she can be as the leading lady. The way she shifts from this playful, wife falling in love again to an almost robotic persona is on-point acting. She wants to think that this retreat really is what they needed and she’s more open to explore the odd situation.

How the film is structured by writer Justin Lader and director Charlie McDowell is also masterful. Each act has its own beginning and end and it has a great flow to it. And the way the twists continue to build on one another add to the overall mystery of the film. There’s one moment that throws a wrench into any theory the couple has about what’s going on, and the scene that follows is filled with great tension. That’s one of the beauties of the film: there’s no way of knowing where the movie’s going or how things are going to play out. This is not any ordinary love story.

With superb acting and an intriguing premise, The One I Love is worth checking out. It’s a strange, entertaining experience that will have audiences talking about it afterwards.

Overall Grade: A-

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