By Darin Skaggs
Love is certainly an odd thing. At first it could be some of the best moments of your life, at other times you could be very frustrated with those you care about and because we are all human we can be mad at them for not being exactly who we want them to be. It is just as easy being right on their side again. In Charlie McDowell’s The One I Love all of these aspects are explored with an interesting science fiction twist.
The story has Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) in marriage counseling session with Ted Danson as the counselor. Their relationship is, obviously, in some trouble so the counselor sends them to a vacation home so they can recoil their love. After a little while in the main house they discover a strange occurrence in the guest house that really challenges their relationship.
Moss gives a wonderful performance as Sophie, she gives the one-two punch this year with this film and Listen Up Philip, and Duplass plays Ethan fairly well. They make interesting enough characters that keep you interested in them throughout the course of this film. They have pretty good chemistry, they create people who you know were once in love and who could possibly be in love again. Their love is challenged throughout the film, especially with the help of the performers, up until the very last scene.
For the first third of the film is seems like a normal indie about fixing a relationship with some light hearted comedy. Yet, during act two a series of weird events occur that turns this normal story into one of strange science fiction. It makes the average tale a bit more interesting, but for what is happening in the film and what is revealed later the film is still sort of weak. The events that are happening are impossible in our reality and mind bending, but what the film is exploring does not really call for an odd sci-fi premise. It also does not explore it to its fullest and focuses too much on what it means to be in love. It cannot balance both genres, at times it is too normal and then the shift to the weird storyline makes it feel like you are watching two different movies that are briefly related.
The One I Love is well acted and does what it sets out to do. The entirety of it is not that enjoyable as a whole, does not find the balance of science fiction and indie romance.