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‘The One I Love” is a 2014 romantic drama from director Charlie McDowell. It stars Mark Duplass of “The Lazarus Effect” and Elizabeth Moss of “Mad Men” as a husband and wife who are faced with the possible end of their marriage. The film originally premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 21, 2014, and is now currently available to stream on Netflix.
In the film, the married couple seeks help from a therapist, played by Ted Danson of “Fargo,” who suggests that the couple spend a weekend at a small resort to try to rekindle their marriage. The grounds of this resort are quite large, and include a main cottage, swimming pool, and a guest cottage.
As the couple comes to find out, each time one of them visits the guest cottage of the resort, they encounter a doppelgänger that is the idealized version of the spouse they imitate.
Having never heard of this film before seeing it pop up on my Recommended Feed on Netflix, I thought I would give this film a try. What I got in return was an interesting look into how people prioritize qualities in their relationships packaged in a slightly stressful, interesting, and occasionally thrilling and thought provoking work.
The way this film was created cinematically was amazing. It utilized the camerawork of a thriller and capitalized on the stress and claustrophobia that the couple felt within their marriage, and in turn made the audience feel it as well. While the action going on wasn’t inherently stressful, the cinematography made me just as uneasy as any traditional cerebral thriller would have made me feel.
What added to this film was its lack of music, which only added to the overwhelming sense of closeness and lack of space of the film. Not to mention it didn’t weigh the film down with unnecessary score.
The acting in this film was very well done, especially with only a three-person cast. However, my favorite of the ensemble was hands-down Moss, as she conveyed the roles of both the real wife and the doppelgänger wife so effortlessly, but managed to keep both of them their own separate entities as characters.
The one aspect of this film that I appreciated most, though, was the plot. The story within this film was so well crafted, that I had no idea when the twist was coming, or even what the twist itself was at all. I was lured in by the initial premise of a rocky marriage seeking to be mended, and was met with a twisted examination of how people develop theses “ideal” versions of their significant others and how they affect our feelings for that person.
Overall, I think that this is a wonderful film in its own right, but for a night at home when you feel like you’ve watched everything there is to watch on Netflix, this is the movie that you should check out. If you’re at all into romantic dramas, comedies, or cerebral thrillers, you will enjoy this film.