Friday, August 1, 2014

The One I Love: Or Not, In This Split Personality, Identity Theft Small Talk Romance


With a movie title borrowed from the name of The Mamas And Papas classic song, this choice would appear to be not quite random, as the duo in question starring in this split personality sex romp might be termed the Ethans and the Sophies, played by Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss respectively. And setting in somewhat circular and repetitive motion, a sci fi relationship scenario laced with guilt free, cake and eat it infidelity.

And if all that sounds as philosophical as theatrical in equal measure, perhaps that was the point as crafted by director Charlie McDowell and first time screenwriter Justin Lader. And seeming as much an idea for a movie as an actual dramatic feature, as well as that problematic divide between the idealized or misremembered fantasy of a lover and who they actually are, not to mention yourself in their potentially disappointed eyes in turn.

Along with how that weighty emotional baggage can precipitate the sort of identity crisis where in eager-to-please mode lavished upon your object of desire, you begin to no longer be in touch with or recognize who your really are. Or in other words, in not sounding like your usual self lately while putting your best foot forward - there is uncertainty if it's even your foot any longer. Enough said about the mysterious meanderings of this crabby when not cosmic, identity theft small talk satirical romance.

The rather perpetual primary plot point of the movie concerns Ethan and Sophie as a borderline estranged married couple entering into relationship therapy, conducted by an unorthodox shrink played by Ted Danson. Hopelessly failing the adviser's compatibility exercises, the pair upon his recommendation head to his specially designed rustic reconciliation retreat. Whereupon they enter perhaps a claustrophobic parallel universe of sorts, having something to do in an exceeding stretch of the imagination with Russian stacking dolls and aardvarks.

The One I Love - or perhaps more aptly The Ones I Love - seems more grounded in concepts and a dash of mystical intrigue than momentum and dramatic pacing. Along with the nagging notion that if you're as bored with this couple as they apparently are with one another, that's not a good sign.

Which raises a question about that tendency these internalized indie characters with their shallow intimacy seem to share. That the cure may not lie within generating even more self-entertaining amusement and wonder, but rather hey, how about getting close by getting in touch with life on the planet, and the teeming world all around you.

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