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The One I Love (2014)

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Did you watch it? I've heard good things and was sent a copy of the film, but will have difficulty prioritizing it in the next week. I could use any extra push.

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Not yet. I'm scrambling up a steep mountain of homework that is due a week from Monday.

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I watched it last night. The One I Love would make an excellent double feature with Coherence, although each movie is good enough to stand by itself, too.

 

It also has the best closing shot of any movie I've seen this year.

In that final shot, you can see Ethan thinking through the possibilities--he brought the wrong Sophie, it's the right Sophie but she's acting like Other Sophie, whether he'll ever know the difference for sure, if answering that question even matters--in a way that suggests he'll never truly know who his wife is, and that he's going to live through that ambiguity.

Edited by Tyler

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I saw this last night.  It's the most interesting (and intelligent) marriage/relationship film that I've seen since Certified Copy.  There is quite a bit of fun to it, and I always admire filmmaking that can create great suspense by simply having two people sitting in a room talking to each other.

 

It's also nice to see Elisabeth Moss continuing to branch out into more starring roles.  She deserves them.

 

It would be fun to discuss this more, but the entire discussion would probably have to be inside spoiler tags.

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Yes! Certified Copy. My mind also immediately went there, and I agree it is the most interesting marriage film I have seen since then. Certainly the best onscreen couple I have seen in ages. Elisabeth Moss is amazingly nuanced throughout (favorite female lead role I have seen this year).

 

The multiple avenues of interpretation set up by the scenario mimic the kinds of thought patterns and conversations that happen in marriage counseling sessions. A few things that went through my mind as the film progressed:

 

1. They are here to experience their ideal image of their spouse so that they can decide they are more in love with their real spouse - as their flaws, shortcomings, etc... are part of what make them who they are. Our ideals are actually boring and insipid.

2, Okay, that is not quite it - so they are actually here to have an ideal spouse to which they can divulge their fears about marriage and the past so that they can then reconnect with their real spouse having freed themselves of that baggage.

3. Oh boy - that is also not it at all. So they are actually being confronted with the sheer confusion of marriage as a set of ideas and propositions that are often in conflict with each other - but they are learning how to cope with that out of their shared history and love for each other.

4. Holy Cow! Nope, not that either. This is just a really good Duplass film that everyone needs to watch.

 

And then as Tyler pointed out, the end of the film is so dense.

Edited by M. Leary

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Interesting. I was going to watch this two nights ago after completing Listen Up Phillip and make it an "Elizabeth Moss night," but then I decided to watch something else. I will try to squeeze this one in soon.

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M. Leary's progression is very similar to what we went through, but we where still left with a final question:  What the heck just happened?

Where did the doppelgangers come from and how did they look exactly like Ethan and Sophie and what is the mechanism of their escape?

 

But I sure like bacon.

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I felt this had much of that Duplass brothers charm I also appreciated in Safety Not Guaranteed. That, along with a smart premise and script, makes the film eminently watchable from beginning to end. I appreciated it all the more given the startling ending.

 

I found little ambiguity in the final scene. The mention of bacon, in addition to the sweet and sunshine-y disposition of Sophie, made it pretty clear to me that we were supposed to think he had made the wrong choice. Indeed, he seems to be struck by this as well when she mentions--off-handedly--that she's making bacon. I can't imagine the real Sophie would have made such a move in such an off-handed way. That Ethan considers his situation for a moment and then goes to this new woman seals the cynicism of the film's portrait of marriage. The one he loves is none other than himself, more than happy to embrace the inauthentic Sophie in exchange for having her just the way she wants.

 

Given that final point, this reminds me in some ways of a darker version of Her.

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Yeah, I can see that. I liked Safety Not Guaranteed more than The One I Love, but I'm glad both movies have their passionate defenders.

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Just saw this and found it entirely engrossing without a false step the entire way (totally comfortable with CC comparisons).  But ... spoilers? ...

 

Like John, I also found the ending quite unambiguous, and Ethan's quick acceptance of his new reality a disappointingly cynical twist to a film that perpetually asked the question, "In spite of the fact that your partner is not the ideal you married, are you still willing and able to do the difficult work required to maintain the relationship?" It felt like a flippant coda to an otherwise remarkable film.

Edited by Doug C

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Given that - I like John's statement that this is a darker version of Her. The ending is flippant, but I don't feel as if the filmmaker is attempting to persuade me to think this flippancy is an adequate response. It has been a while since I have seen it, so details elude me - but the structural pleasure of the film resides in its use of an unexplained sci-fi concept to allow the presence of multiple marriages in the same frame at the same time. 

 

This formal play mimics the kinds of thoughts and desires present in any marriage. This is simply the nature of self-reflection. But the joy of marriage lies in the mutual pursuit of a singleness of mind, an idea I think the film implies (very similarly to CC).

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Yes, the question remains as to whether or not it's an "adequate response." I think there could have been a better way to preserve the ambiguity, leaving it in the mind of the audience. I wouldn't want a conventional "happy ending," either. Maybe it's just the way Ethan shrugs and the Coenesque pop music fades in that makes it feel flippant to me. After being glued to the characters and their problems, I felt like the filmmakers just check out at that point: "How does this twist grab ya?  Later!"

Edited by Doug C

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What do you make of Mike D'Angelo's reading of the ending of the film? I kind of agree that it makes the ending a bit of a mess. The literal-mindedness of this film is a tad frustrating, even as I liked it generally.

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I'm not the biggest fan of D'Angelo's writing in general but I think that's a pretty fair description of the plot. I'm most interested in readings of the final twist.

For example,I've come across two quotes from the director (as opposed to the writer) that imply that he thinks SPOILER the original couple are together at the end, but that the "bacon question" is just the kind of residual baggage all relationships have. But I think that's a rosy interretation given what we see.

The more I think about this film, the more impressed I am by the performers (who cowrote and improvised all of their dialogue) and the brilliant editing, which help shape the infectious emotional rhythms.

But problems with the ending are compounded. If Ethan does end up with Sophie #2, then Sophie #1 and her choice disappear entirely from the film, which doesn't seem fair given how invested the audience has been in her character.

Edited by Doug C

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The SF is problematic in that it's crucial but only half-heartedly applied. But I would forgive that -- like a playful, mid century science-lite concoction by Lafferty or Leiber or even Bradbury -- if it made emotional sense, which I don't think it does.

Edited by Doug C

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