For Reel

The One I Love (2014)
December 8, 2014, 8:24 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Charlie McDowell
3.5 Stars
The One I LoveThe One I Love has been marketed so as to avoid explaining its mystifying plot. It’s a wise move–like an episode of the Twilight Zone, Justin Lader’s script tantalizes the audience with the slow unveiling of a confusing, at times unsettling world. But it is perhaps this emphasis on the mystery at the center of the narrative that stunts its potential as a great relationship drama. Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss play a troubled couple who seek to save their marriage by escaping for a weekend to a seemingly normal rental property. Of course, things aren’t quite what they seem. There’s a lot to chew on in its dialogue about relationships–there’s a clear distinction drawn between the way that people enter relationships and the reality of what relationships become. When one enters a relationship, they inevitably create false expectations about what that their partner might be like, ignoring the inherent fallibilities that reveal themselves later. The narrative engages with this type of romantic evolution in a playful way, but much of what happens in the third act of the picture places such an emphasis on the bizarre plot elements that the emotional core gets lost in the shuffle. There’s a concluding twist that was perhaps meant to be ambiguous, but in its build up it seems disappointingly literal. It’s an irresistible film, but one that’s also frustrating in the way that it flirts with greatness and misses by failing to take the emotional risks necessary to becoming transcendent.

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