THE ONE I LOVE. Starring Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Moss, Ted Danson. Directed by Charlie McCarthy. 91 minutes. Rated M (Coarse language, Drug use and sex scene).
The One I Love is a small, independent film, produced by the Duplass Brothers, starring Mark Duplass who has moved into acting in a wide variety of films. He is Ethan. As Sophie, his co-star is Elizabeth Moss, who appeared in the television series Mad Men and in Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake.
As the film progresses, older audiences might well be wondering about it, where it is going and whether they are identifying with the characters and the situations or not. They might have in the past, but this is a story for young marrieds, especially in their 20s or, perhaps, in their 30s. Older audiences might be remembering their past but this story, with its plot of self-discovery and issues of love and breakdown of love and marriage, and finding it rather uninteresting, even a bit tedious or boring.
The film has a voice-over about how the couple met, chased from a swimming pool by an angry owner, and their attempt to recreate this atmosphere on the first anniversary by going back to the pool. But it soon emerges that the love and the marriage are becoming more and more tentative. Wisely they go to a counsellor. He is played by Ted Danson who is, in fact, the stepfather of the director, Charlie McCarthy, whose mother is Danson’s wife, Mary Steenburgen. The director’s father is Malcolm McDowell. Mary Steenburgen contributed to the lyrics for one of the songs and she and Ted Danson receive gratitude in the final credits.
The counsellor urges the couple to go to a country retreat where, hopefully, they will rediscover their love. This is the important part of the review because there is an unexpected twist and should not be revealed. What one might say is that it is something of a Sliding Doors experience, though wholly in the present. This makes demands on the acting talent of the central couple. Adult audiences, younger, will probably find the plot twist fascinating, challenging them to see how they identify with Ethan and Sophie and how they behave in the changing situation.
Judging from the comments of the adult, younger, audiences emerging from the film, they found it was open “great” so there is an audience for the film who will appreciate characters and situations. For audiences over 40, it could be something of déjà vu, but it also could be something that they realise of interest and appreciation to others, but not themselves.
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
Out November 27th 2014.