Last Christmas

Me: “I’m not going to review as many films anymore…”
Also Me:

Last Christmas (2019)

Nothing seems to go right for young Kate, a frustrated Londoner who works as an elf in a year-round Christmas shop. But things soon take a turn for the better when she meets Tom — a handsome charmer who seems too good to be true. As the city transforms into the most wonderful time of the year, Tom and Kate’s growing attraction turns into the best gift of all — a Yuletide romance.

Director: Paul Feig
Stars: Emma Thompson, Emilia Clarke, Michelle Yeoh

*Minor spoilers*

It’s funny how much we can forgive in the name of Christmas spirit, huh? This Paul Feig Christmas movie is enjoyable for a second but it definitely doesn’t hit the notes of The Holiday. It’s no Love Actually – it’s not even The Family Stone.

Maybe my hopes for it were a little too high. All I know is that both the central characters were annoying twits. I haven’t always been wowed by Emilia Clarke but I do enjoy watching her and she was as gorgeous as ever as self-destructive Kate. Her eyebrows do the most of the acting work though, they’re here, there and everywhere.

Golding’s Tom is 2D as they come and I don’t understand why I’m supposed to give a shit about such a condescending character. Stop telling everyone to “look up” you boring prick – let them live. None of this is a good sign when you’re expected to invest in their burgeoning ‘love’ story.

Thankfully, the supporting acts are the movie’s saving grace (and London by night, obvs). Some of the characters we meet down at the homeless shelter are priceless, including Kate’s fellow volunteers and her father Ivan (Boris Isakovic) is a laugh riot. The true stand-out for me though is Santa, Kate’s Christmas-loving boss (Michelle Yeoh), that woman lights up the screen more than all those Christmas lights combined. Thompson delivers as per but considering she also has writing credits, why is this so bland?

I guessed the hidden premise half way through which is very unusual for me. It’s so damn literal! And honestly, there’s not much to the rest of the movie. Somewhere in this mess is a message about Brexit and being there for our fellow man in unity, rather than pushing everyone away and I liked that. Especially at Christmas.

I also like the idea of a messed up individual putting their life back together, one brick at a time, with or without a terrible illness to motivate them. It’s just a shame that Kate (or Katarina) is more fun when she’s being a thoughtless little tramp.

Judge for yourselves, I guess. Maybe I’m just dead inside. (I know I’m not though because despite everything I still did a teeny cry every time a George Michael song came on.)

2.5/5

What are you watching?

Falling Inn Love, or: See What They Did There?

Free for all month is back thank God. I don’t think I can deal with another 2 hour+ melodrama, even if it does have good costuming and spunky musical numbers. Not for a little while, anyway.

To counterbalance the seriousness/worthiness of last week, I’ve chosen Netflix’s latest romantic offering – and it does exactly what it says in the tin. Lovely.

Falling Inn Love

When city girl Gabriela spontaneously enters a contest and wins a rustic New Zealand inn, she teams up with big-hearted contractor Jake Taylor to fix and flip it.

*Spoilers*

My Review

City gal Gabriela (Milian) is having a time of it. Keen to do well at her job in property development, she’s overlooked constantly by her douchey male counterparts, who – shocker – do not take her seriously at all. Even though she’s got some kick ass environmental ideas that could change the game forever. She’s also struggling with her boyfriend Dean (Bowyer-Chapman), who’s dragging his heels commitment-wise.

Then she’s made redundant and her relationship ultimatum backfires on her. So, one evening, pissed up and feeling melancholy in her PJs, she enters a competition to win a gorgeous little inn in picturesque New Zealand. All she has to do is write a little something about why she should win.

Well, Gab’s something of a dreamer and her piece easily secures her the prize and just like that, she leases out her San Fran apartment and hits the airport. (This movie absolutely taps into my secret fantasy of skipping town and starting over somewhere quaint and peaceful).

Gabriela finally arrives at her destination after a comedy of errors, during which she meets pretty boy Jake (Demos). The pair don’t exactly hit it off right away, Jake is bemused at how unprepared she is for the countryside, while she thinks he’s a smart arse.

When she claps eyes on the Bellbird Valley Farm Inn, she’s gutted to learn how rundown it really is. A shell of its former self and nothing like the glorious property she was promised. It does come with pet goat Gilbert though. And with a little help from her accommodating new friends; including a same-sex cafe owning couple, Norm from the hardware store and the delightful Shelley (Claire Chitham), our Gabs is about to turn it all around.

Jake turns out to be a shit hot handyman too which comes in er, handy when Gabriela reluctantly accepts his help. But could they be falling in(n) love? What do you think?!

Of course there are complications, rival B&B owner Charlotte (Anna Jullienne) wants to get her hands on the inn and have Gabs return to the USA as soon as possible. Meanwhile, she’s scheming to get Dean back in Gabriela’s life to ensure that happens. Which could throw a spanner in the new couple’s blossoming romance, to say the least.

And what of this incredible job she’s just been offered back in San Francisco? Oh it is all such a mess and it’s such a shame when Gabi was doing so well, learning valuable life lessons and making fresh plans! What’s a girl to do?

My Comments

If you’re looking for romantic comedy clichés then, baby you’ve come to the right place. In fact this movie would make the ideal drinking game companion. Suitcase rolling down a hill and getting run over by a car, driven by our romantic lead? Check. Inappropriate footwear resulting in a broken high heel? Check. Reckless but hilarious driving through town for the first time? Yeppers.

Oh, and Jake isn’t a dickhead, he’s actually a widower and therefore twenty times more sympathetic (aka attractive)? Hell yeah.

There’s also a romantic subplot about the previous owner of the inn and a pile of old love letters that helps Jake and Gab on their way to Lurvesville. FIL really reads like a Hallmark Christmas movie and that is its strength in my eyes. I just love them so much. We’re not here for gritty realism after all, this is all about escapism.

Milian is adorable while Demos isn’t exactly hard on the eyeballs, if you like that sort of thing. I love the supporting characters. Gab’s GBFFs Peter and Anaaki bring the lols and the fresh baked goods, while Shelley feels like a woman you’d genuinely go for a pint with.

The scenery too is breathtaking and this is the first Netflix original movie shot entirely on location in NZ, which is cool. Maybe running a B&B is my calling in life too?

Film details:

Starring: Christina Milian, Adam Demos, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman
Director: Roger Kumble
Year: 2019
IMDB Rating: 5.6/10
My Rating: 3/5

What does my heroine think of Falling Inn Love? Would she fly half way around the world to give it a makeover or leave it to crumble? Find out here.

Destination Wedding

The story of two miserable and unpleasant wedding guests, Lindsay and Frank, who develop a mutual affection despite themselves.

Winona RyderKeanu Reeves

Director: Victor Levin • Year: 2018
IMDB Rating: 6/10 • My Rating: 3/5

Lindsay: Don’t you believe there is someone for everyone?

Frank: Close. I believe that there is nobody for anyone.

*Minor spoilers*

My Review

In many ways this was better than expected as it offers up two pretty awful people to actually root for, despite it all. Frank (Reeves) and Lindsay (Ryder) meet at the airport and soon start bickering. To their dismay, on the light aircraft to their destination, they learn they’re going to the same wedding.

Frank is the estranged half-brother of the groom, while Lindsay used to be engaged to him – but was dumped five weeks before their own  wedding, six years previously. They’re both there out of a twisted sense of duty and Lindsay figures this might give her the closure she needs. While the pair are both cynical and pessimistic – and seem incapable of not roasting one another – they form an odd bond against the rest of the wedding party.

One thing inevitably leads to another and our caustic couple live happily ever after. Well, not really but there’s a sniff of hope and that’s all this is saying. Sure, be negative but maybe try to be open to the possibility of something meaningful too?

When Lindsay suggests that they take their one-nighter further, Frank is reluctant for all his reasons. Will he change his mind? This is a short review because, well action wise we’re a little light on the ground. This is more a study of human expectation and disappointment – with the two coolest leads on the planet.

Lindsay: Do you wanna have children?

Frank: I’d rather be dead in a ditch.

My Comments

I really liked the blend of cynicism and hope but there’s a stiffness to it and – much as I adore him with every fiber of my being – I think this is down to how much dialog there is for KR to process. However, in a way this works towards building his character, who’s awkward and unpleasant – but seriously hot. The sarcasm almost suits him and it’s a role we seldom see him in, so it’s worth relishing.

I loved seeing this golden couple back on the screen together – so they could have been doing or saying anything and I’d be satisfied. As is happens there a few stand out scenes that really tickled me – the scene in which they decide to do it (and Lindsay shouts “No no no!” at the point of climax because she’s a negative person) – and when they’re tearing down the wedding guests one by one.

Frank: Why would anyone have my mother as their maid of honor?

Lindsay: I know, it’s like having the Grim Reaper at your CAT scan.

Winona is wonderful of course, her facial expressions are a dream and I love her even more since Joyce Byers came into my life. She brings a realness to Lindsay that I can really identify with and honestly, can someone just find a new film for her to star in with the man of the moment?

What are you watching?

Mubarakan, or: Films So Long You Need to Take a Nap Half-Way Through

DISCLAIMER: This is a light-hearted film review and not intended to defame, discredit or hurt the sentiments of any character, action, religion, profession or community. Also, if I get any of the plot mixed up it’s because A LOT happens, okay?

We’re trying something new this August: Bollywood movies. Let’s just say it’s going to be a very vibrant, dramatic and deliciously choreographed Summer round these parts. Join us?

Join Karan and Charan in a very crazy yet chaotic marriage of the year.

Anil KapoorArjun KapoorIleana D’Cruz

Director: Anees Bazmee • Year: 2017
IMDB Rating: 5.6/10 • My Rating: 3/5

My Review

Charanveer and Karanveer Singh (Arjun Kapoor) are identical twins who, following the tragic accidental death of their parents, find themselves separated at birth. Charan is sent to Punjab to be brought up by his proud uncle Baljeet (Pavan Malhotra), while Karan is raised by his aunt Jeeto (Ratna Pathak Shah) in London.

The boys know each other as cousins – or so I thought – but when we meet them as adults they seem very much aware that they are brothers. I guess when your face is the exact replica of your cousin’s it raises a few questions. In between Jeeto and Baljeet stands younger brother Kartar (Anil Kapoor) who also lives in London on an estate he calls “mini Punjab” with his white, English butler (and PA?).

Charan is a mild-mannered, religious boy who wouldn’t say boo to a goose and certainly not to his old man. Karan is slicker than your average and has an eye for fit ladies, much to the chagrin of his feisty girlfriend Sweety (D’Cruz). He doesn’t mean any harm though and does love her, even though they bicker all the time.

Things get messed up when Sweety inadvertently insults Jeeto in a shopping centre. Although Jeeto despises her on sight, she doesn’t twig that Sweety is Karan’s girlfriend and Karan does nothing to correct the situation. And he certainly can’t bring himself to tell his aunt that this is the woman he wants to marry.

When Jeeto and her husband engineer a marriage for Karan to great catch Binkle (Athiya Shetty), he is forced to talk his way out of proceedings by convincing his uncle that he wants to focus on his career – launching a chain of restaurants.

In his place he offers up Charan as Binkle’s would-be groom. Which sorts everything, right?

WRONG. Charan also has a girlfriend. Like Sweety, Nafisa (Neha Sharma) is a firecracker too, a lawyer who’s sick of Charan’s shit because he doesn’t have the kahonnies to tell his family about her. The issue is that she’s Muslim and his father/uncle is very against that. Not even exclusively, he’s down on any religion that doesn’t match his. And Charan is nothing if not a yes-man.

So, Charan is shipped to London to meet Binkle and her family, including father Sandhu (Rahul Dev) and her brother Munpreet (Karan Kundrra). He doesn’t even mention it to Nafisa until he’s landed and only then because she asks him what he’s up to. Reluctant to be married off, Charan has already called on his uncle Kartar to help him sabotage the meeting. Inventive as anything, Kartar convinces Charan to pretend to be a druggie.

But when Charan claps eyes on Binkle, something changes. She’s flipping stunning, gentle and perfect – and a very wholesome spark is ignited. Yey! Except, the drug plan falls into place despite Charan’s attempt to abort the mission and Sandhu insults Baljeet, claiming he’ll never let his family connect with the likes of theirs.

Phew! That’s only about a quarter of the film. To make amends to Sandhu, to whom they owe a great gratitude, Jeeto and her family offer Karan to Binkle instead. Which is kind of awks. In response, Sweety is presented as a wifely option for Charan – all the while Jeeto still bears a massive grudge toward her but at least she isn’t marrying her son/nephew. Still with me?

I can’t remember what the final straw is but there’s discord between brother and sister – and Jeeto and Baljeet become estranged. In defiance against his sister, Baljeet (who BTW is very handsome) makes a vow that he doesn’t need her help to marry off Karan and that he’ll have him spliced on the 25th of the next month.

Hence the Sweety match.

Kartar, torn between his siblings, manages to get them both to agree to have the weddings in London and on the same day.

MEANWHILE… Nafisa is fuming and ends up coming to London too, there are chance meetings, arguments and most importantly there is love and incredible dance numbers that rarely make sense. My favourite song is unquestionably Take Your Lovely Goggles Off.

When Nafisa falls for Binkle’s brother Munpreet, everything almost slots perfectly into place. Binkle has Charan, Sweety loves Karan – and Nafisa has snared Munpreet. If only the twins had the bottle to just admit what they want and stand up to their families!

Well, wedding day comes around and I’m woman enough to admit that, when Kartar is forced to make a heartwarming speech to bring his brother and sister back together, I cried. For a super goofy, melodramatic slice of solid gold Rom Com, it got me.

My Comments

There is absolutely no good reason for this to be two and a half hours long though. I had to have a nap 90 minutes in. There is so much to-ing and fro-ing that I got lost a lot. I’m not even sure this review is fully accurate.

I did find myself getting frustrated a lot with all the secrecy and the boys’ reluctance to stick up for themselves – and there’s also a fair amount of waiting around for God to make things happen. But I’m not from a devout Indian family. Kartar’s speech filled in a lot of blanks for me about fear of being thrown out of the family.

Some of the acting seems deliberately hammy, everyone is very aesthetically pleasing (looking at you again, Uncle Baljeet) and the colour is wonderful. It’s very fun and as my first full length Bollywood movie experience, I’m very much excited for the next one.

Netflix seems to have an array of incredibly interesting looking Indian movies at the moment and I’m already trying to work out if Hisss technically counts as a Bollywood movie for my next pick.

What does my Technicolor angel think of this Bollywood fever dream? Would she rope in into a flash mob in the middle of Picadilly or reject its marriage proposal cold? Find out here.

Isn’t it Romantic?

Sometimes I just need broad humour to battle a chronic earache and period pains – and do you think I feel guilty about it? Hell no.

This week we look at one of the oldest movie templates in history – the Rom Com – from a cynical standpoint. Will we somehow learn a lesson by the time the credits roll? Probably not but there’s a sing/dance off so I’m in, whatever.

Isn’t it Romantic? (2019)

A young woman disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy.

Starring: Rebel Wilson • Liam Hemsworth • Adam Devine

*Minor spoilers*

My relationship with Rebel Wilson is complex. On the surface I enjoy watching her but I find her a little one note. It’s probably not even her fault but I’d like to see her break the mould and play a completely different type of character in the future. The constant gurning gets on my tits too.

Anyway, problematic tastes aside, this film is a no-brainer and exactly what I needed on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I’ve actually already seen it but felt I needed another watch because I’d forgotten most of it.

Same tbh

As a child, Natalie (Rebel Wilson) was all about the romantic comedy, until her mother (Jennifer Saunders) burst the bubble. Claiming that sort of story wasn’t for the likes of them and only the Julia Roberts’ of this world, Natalie grew up and became a cynic.

Twenty five years later and Natalie is not exactly open to finding love. A junior architect with big ideas but a lack of confidence, she spends her days feeling invisible and is oblivious to all the good around her. Friends Josh (Adam Devine) and Whitney (Betty Gilpin) try to get her to see things differently but it’s almost impossible to shift her perspective.

One day, after bombing a big presentation by being mistaken for the coffee bitch by new client Blake (Liam Hemsworth), Natalie is mugged on the subway. Hitting her head, our hero wakes up in hospital and – worse – inside her own nightmare AKA romantic comedy land.

Rebel girl

Shiiiiitt.

Everything in her new world is beautiful and harmonious. Men look her in the eye and call her adorable every time she trips (ew). Natalie’s previously run down neighbourhood has been gentrified and her shabby apartment is suddenly seventeen times bigger and full of everything good in the world. Most importantly, when Blake hits her with his car, he is instantly smitten with the baffled (and completely unrumpled) Nat.

Not everything is in Nat’s favour though. Whitney has become her bitchy rival at work and she can’t bleeping swear without having it bleeping bleeped out.

“Uh, do you have a brother?”

When she realises she’s woken up in a parallel universe (OBVIOUSLY), our girl figures the only way to get back to real life is to hit her head again. When that doesn’t work, her only option is to make Blake fall in love with her so she can be free. DUH.

Which isn’t too shabby when you consider he’s a Hemsworth. Alas sex isn’t something that actually happens in rom coms (not this one, anyway) so Nat is left largely unfulfilled. Logic is not something you need to worry about for the next 90 minutes, don’t worry.

Meanwhile, Josh rescues yoga ambassador Isabella (Priyanka Chopra) from choking in the park and they fall quickly in love. But something just doesn’t add up, despite how unbelievably perfect everything is. Can you guess what that is guys?

Should’ve worn a brighter colour, love

When the penny finally drops, Natalie has to figure out a way to sabotage the happy couple AND get back to the way things were. Luckily, she has GBFF and neighbour Donny (Brandon Scott Jones) on hand to help her scheme.

Will Natalie learn from all this? Will she be proven right, that as a strong independent woman she doesn’t need a dude to complete her – or will she see that actually – if she lets herself be open to it, she can have it all if she really wants it?

This isn’t M. Night Shyamalan and there are no surprises here. There are a couple of amusing bits (the telephone number on the petals, the karaoke sing-off) but it’s not that smart. It’s just another paint by numbers, the very kind of movie that Natalie despises in the first place.

The saccharine ending is sweet (sickly sweet) but it might have been nice if she had been offered it all and decided to stick to her single girl guns. I don’t know, I just find the messaging a little muddy.

“This is a dance off, bitch”

Rebel is gorgeous and it irritates me that she would ever be considered invisible. She’s a goddamn knock out. Yet again we’re being sold a can only be found attractive in a parallel universe narrative and I’m bored. Yes this is supposed to be a comment on society and the bullshit of the commercial world women exist within but for fuck’s sake can we move on now? (See also I Feel Pretty).

Can we just have diverse female characters who don’t fit the cookie cutter mold but do have normal, happy lives and don’t have to defend themselves/play up to a stereotype/be extra-kooky to disguise all their hideous flaws?

I don’t hate this by any stretch, I just wanted more from it. As Jill says, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend did a romantic spoof episode a while back and did it way better.

⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What does my love think of this one? Would she take it to the ice cream shop or challenge it to a Karaoke-off? Find out here.

Down to You (Film) Review

dvd-1386238252Jillian and I have sort of lost track of what theme we’re on, though we both think it’s still Romance. So this week’s pick is all about first love and stars a bevy of late 90’s/early noughties rom-com alumni. What’s not to like about that, right?

We’ll see.

As always *spoilers*!

Down to You (2000)

Director: Kris Isacsson
Stars: Freddie Prinze. Jr, Julia Stiles, Selma Blair, Rosario Dawson

IMDB Synopsis: A young man wins and loses the first serious love of his life.

My Review:

Al and Imogen fill us in on how they met, fell in love and then lost it all via the popular crap movie medium of talking into the camera.

Their story isn’t anything out of the ordinary: they meet at a party, where Imogen passes on the opportunity to go home with a skeevy boy called Jim Morrison (Ashton Kutcher with a very lustrous hair do). Instead she sets her sights on Mr. Cookie Cutter, Al and they bond over a love of singer-songwriting or something.

down-to-you (1)
Young, gorgeous and IN LOVE and LIVING LIFE TO THE MAX

Anyway, they quickly fall into a relationship and are very happy, picking out a special song to be ‘theirs’ and doing cringe-inducing lip syncing scenes all over the college games room. All the stuff we’ve all done a million times as young, beautiful college students. Oh wait.

The couple part for a short while when Imogen goes to Paris for three months and their bond is further tested when Al finds himself mildly attracted to Selma Blair’s amateur porn star, Cyrus. Not that he does anything beyond a little #selflove.

Of course, this might be the time to mention that Al’s BFF Monk is something of a porn baron, filming lots of lavish productions including one that has an actual battle scene. Like you do to finance yourself through college, right? No waitressing for these crazy kids.

"Honestly, Ashton, what conditioner do you use?"
“Honestly, Ashton, what conditioner do you use? Also, is that an egg?”

But as always, that old stinker reality kicks in and Imogen begins to freak out about how serious everything is and how old mannish Al has become (I think he wants to stay in on a Friday night ONE TIME, the old boring bastard). She dreams she is with child and I think there was a scene at some point where she takes a test. Thankfully she isn’t up the duff and celebrates by making a huge mistake that betrays Al’s trust forever (or is it forever really, hmmmmmm?).

She also shouts that she hates Al in the middle of a party which, frankly, was my favourite part.

You know she's grown as a person because now her hair is straight...
You know she’s grown as a person because now her hair is straight…

Will these lovers ever find their way back together? Will Al actually do something of note instead of just standing around relying on his pretty face to do all the work for him (though he’s not my type AT ALL)?

Are Freddie Prinze. Jr and Buffy still married, and if so, is she now Sarah Michelle Prinze Jr? Are you still reading this? All I know is that this is a romantic comedy and all bets are off.

gray_Ð_оÐ_ько_Ñ_Ñ_Ð_Ñ_down_to_you_film_hd-wallpaper-26532
This photograph is 15 years old

Throw in that short, quite good-looking guy from The Faculty (1998) (Shawn Hatosy), The World’s Hottest Woman™ and Ms. Blair; and the gang’s all here. But is this all-star cast good enough to raise this really rather light on storyline ensemble piece into classic rom-com territory?

I already know the answer to this, obvs but finding your own answer is Down to You, I guess. (LOOOOOOLLLLL)

My Thoughts:

FFS. Welcome to Dullsville, population: Me.

I went in with all the optimism of the Andrex puppy because as noted above, what honestly is not to love about this? It has all the ingredients of a movie to rival it’s contemporaries including; 10 Things I Hate About You, Never Been Kissed and She’s All That (all 1999) but you know why I think it doesn’t work? No gimmick.

Call me old-fashioned but if I want to watch a film about a relationship breaking down I can shut my eyes and reminisce over my past love life. Sure the cast isn’t as sexy but still.

This is supposed to be about how they find their way back together, of course but it needed way more oomph. I was bored out of my tiny mind. I didn’t care if they stayed together or not, I hated both Al and Imogen (and most of the secondary characters) and I just wanted it to end.

In fact, I wanted to stand up and shout “I HATE YOU!” to the TV and leave the room, it was that shit. Selma Blair, Ashton Kutcher and Rosario should have hijacked the film and made it all about them instead, that would’ve been infinitely better.

My Rating: 

1/5 – the lowest rating yet. Even worse than Lizzie Borden. Oh, but the soundtrack was pretty good, I’ll give it that.

Head over to Jillian‘s shortly to find out what she thought!

The One I Love (Film) Review

one_i_loveConfession: I’d already seen this film a few weeks before Jillian picked it for our collaboration. Confession #2: I didn’t really get it the first time around. So I was quite pleased to get a second chance at it because it’s a very interesting look at modern relationships (with a sci-fi seasoning).

I’m really going to try not to bang on too much as I do recommend you watch this movie. My mum recently revealed that she’s been reading my reviews and sometimes I spoil plot lines for her by being revealing too much. So I will try to hold back a bit.

(Hi Mum!)

That said: *Spoilers ahead*

The One I Love (2014)

Director: Charlie McDowell
Stars: Mark Duplass, Elizabeth Moss

IMDB Synopsis: Struggling with a marriage on the brink of falling apart, a couple escapes for a weekend in pursuit of their better selves, only to discover an unusual dilemma that awaits them.

My Review:

I keep wondering how to review this without giving too much away and also, how will I do its complex plot proper justice? However, now I’ve viewed it for a second time, I think I’ve got this. Here’s the set up:

“Do you guys know ‘Where everybody knows my name’?”

Ethan and Sophie are in couples therapy, opening up their relationship woes to a silvery Ted Danson. Their problems seems to revolve around something Ethan did and although it is referred to as “What I did”, it is not made clear at this point. We can all sort of imagine. It’s worse than him leaving his crusty socks on the kitchen floor, put it that way (GLYNN).

The couple are trying to fan the flames of a love that took just half an hour to ignite the night they met. It’s not really working, which is weird, you’d think plinkety-plinking at the same time on a piano would fix them right up. Ted recommends that they visit a retreat he knows of, just the two of them. It comes with rave reviews, all the couples who have previously visited have come back “renewed”.

So off they pop.

On the first night in their new idyllic setting, Ethan and Soph enjoyed a languorous meal with wine and pot. Things are good. Sophie tells Ethan he looks hot without glasses (he looks hot every which way, girl, you nuts?). After dinner, while Ethan clears up, Soph explores the grounds and happens upon the guest house Ethan had previously told her about. She has a little poke about and plays with some Russian dolls.

Ethan comes to find her and they do it, after making a pact to try new things. Ethan persuades Sophie to stay in there overnight so she pops back to the main hour to get some pajamas. Back there, she wonders how Ethan got back home so quickly, as he’s napping on the couch when she gets there. She assumes he’s winding her up but gets pissed off when he ‘pretends’ to forget they had sex, minutes earlier. She does what any self-respecting wife would do and stomps off to bed.

“Are you achin’, for some bacon, Ethan?”

Confuddled, Ethan wanders off to the guest house and goes to sleep on the sofa. Soon Sophie joins him and they fall asleep together, amidst mutual apologies. In the morning, Sophie is cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and seems brighter.

Ethan, however, gets even more confused that she seems to be totally over their argument the previous night. She thinks they should put it down to a wild night and forget about it. She’s also cooking bacon, which makes him suspicious, as it’s something she doesn’t like him eating.

It’s here that we start to work out what’s happening, though I have to say, if G started acting weird my immediate thought wouldn’t necessarily be PARALLEL UNIVERSE or COSMIC ABERRATION, but that’s me. Perhaps I’m not complex enough. Still, Ethan returns to the house where Sophie is and drags her to the guest cottage, telling her to go inside. Sophie is starting to get pissed off and scared, but she enters to find Ethan working out in the living room. This backs up his theory that there’s some “Twilight Zone shit” going down. The Ethan she’s just seen you see, can’t possibly be the same Ethan as he’s like, fitter and doesn’t wear glasses, you know?

“Da. Fuq?”

The couple freak the fuck out, pack up and blow that popsicle stand as quickly as their legs can carry them. At the local diner, the couple discuss what this could all mean and whether they should just never talk about it again (I’m a great fan of this particular method of dealing). Yet, they can’t stop thinking about it and curiosity gets the better of them so they agree to return.

Ethan isn’t cool with the fact that Sophie has boffed another man, even though that man is technically another version of him (or is he?). So they come up with a plan that goes a little something like this: alternating shifts of approx. 15 minutes at a time with the ‘other’ partner, no intimacy, no sex – only honesty. Sophie pretty much breaks the intimacy rule within 45 seconds, accepting a massage from Ethan Mark II (who can blame her?).

“Oh haiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii!”

This is where I back off a little. You get from the lead in that the guest cottage hosts a pair of Ethan/Sophie doppelgängers. The pair take their turns in the cottage, while Sophie seems more into the experience than Ethan. Eventually, somehow, Mark II Sophie and Ethan meet the originals and then things get confusing.

Who is real, what’s it all about and why did Ted Danson send them there? Basically, it’s all his fault and he’s nowhere to be found. TYPICAL.

2 + 2 = What the hell?
2 + 2 = What the hell?

To the multiple question portion of this review. What’s going to happen when it comes time for Sophie and Ethan to leave the retreat? Is Sophie still in love with Ethan or has she got stronger feelings for the 2.0 version? Can’t she just muss up original Ethan’s hair and remove his glasses, or are the issues deeper than that? Have I got the ingredients in my flat to make my own Mimosa (answer: OBVIOUSLY NOT)?

The ending is great and a very interesting view on relationships on the whole and what people want from a life partner. I think I would even go so far as to say that it will remain with you long after Netflix has booted you off.

If you’re down for something fresh and more cerebral than your average rom-com, then this could be the one for you.

Tic Tack Toe Job (to keep the flames alive)
Tic Tack Toe Job (to keep the flames alive)

My Thoughts:

Interesting.

I really liked it. I did have to go onto the internet to work out a few things but I think I’m comfortable with my view on what it all means. This is a film that doesn’t partonisingly lay it all out for you and once the credits have finished rolling it’s down to you to decide how you feel.

I didn’t feel disappointed with the ending and I liked how it left me slapping my forehead and saying “Wow” to myself. This wow took on the gradual shape of a “Woah” and then I had to make a cup of tea to process the rest. Which I would say is a pretty successful climax.

I also love the cast, of whom there are only really two, the couple themselves. However, Mr Danson takes on a sinister character via his elusiveness and you are left wondering what his involvement is really all about. Why does he facilitate this cray set up?

You can tell this is Sophie 2.0 because make up and light colours, yo
You can tell this is Sophie 2.0 because make up and light colours, yo

Elizabeth Moss is pretty damn adorable, isn’t she? I’ve seen her in little but I understand that she’s the beating heart of Mad Men (a show I am desperate to see but haven’t yet). She’s a fantastic actress and I really felt for her, particularly when discussing the very hurtful reasoning behind ‘What Ethan did’.

As for Mark Duplass, well he’s a dream. I’ve a real soft spot for his work both in front of and behind the camera on films such as Humpday (2009), Your Sister’s Sister (2011) and Jeff, Who Lives at Home (2011). In fact, he’s pretty big shit all round the mumblecore scene. He’s great here as both versions of Ethan, one cautious and guilty, the other ‘beachy’ and open to new experiences. He makes you hope for a happy ending for the original couple, and also creeps you out when you learn the objective of Mark II.

So, I was very glad to see this a second time; to really concentrate and grasp it this time. I would highly recommend this trippy love story to anyone. Even G enjoyed it and that’s saying something since it’s got love and romance in it.

My rating:

4.5/5 (aka. Pretty bloody good)

I also threatened last week to start looking at pod casting. I’m obviously not very good at all (yet) but I thought I’d give it a go for this review (my official introduction will come in a few days). I sing in this ‘companion cast’, sorry about that. I also forget to talk about why I liked the film, so that’s helpful. Next time I’ll write a list of things to talk about, like a teenage girl talking to the boy she likes on the phone.

Also, please excuse the siren going off in the background, it wasn’t for me.

What does my lovely film reviewing partner Jillian make of The One I Love? Find out here.