The following is a quick review of The One I Love – The feature film debut for director Charlie McDowell
The One I Love follows Ethan (played by Mark Duplass) and Sophie (played by Elisabeth Moss), a married couple going through a rough patch, who have been advised by their therapist (played by Ted Danson) to go on a weekend retreat to a secluded estate. But once they get there, they realize that their partner is only fun to be around in the guest house.
The One I Love is a dramatic comedy with a slightly disturbing science fiction twist that I won’t entirely reveal here, but maybe the poster above will clue you in. It is basically a two-actor film and both Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass do a brilliant job. ‘Ethan’ is very different within and out of the guest house, and Mark Duplass is truly terrific. Both actors convincingly carry a confident independent film.
The film is just odd enough to pull you in, and interesting enough to keep your attention and to earn the length of a feature film. I say this because – as the characters point out – this feels like something taken out of a The Twilight Zone episode. This would’ve been a terrific episode of Black Mirror for example, a show that actually can have feature length episodes, but I digress.
I did have a few issues with the film, one of which is that it feels like the central characters aren’t asking the right questions to investigate the unique situation they’ve found themselves in. I also found it to be generally unconvincing how calm one of the characters in the film were. As you’ll see when you see the film, one should be extremely worried about what is happening to them.
It also feels slightly repetitive, as it basically just extends Ethan’s investigation of the events and Sophie’s interest in the guest house to the very limit. But The One I Love is a great little film with a strong twisty script. Ultimately, it is an ambitious feature film debut for Charlie McDowell with a great premise that manages to trick its audience in the best way possible more than once.
8 out of 10
– Jeffrey Rex