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Originally published Thursday, August 21, 2014 at 3:07 PM

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‘The One I Love’: Expect the unexpected on couple’s retreat

A movie review of “The One I Love,” which feels like it might be a romantic comedy but soon becomes something else. Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass star. This highly original film received three stars out of four.


Seattle Times movie critic

Movie Review ★★★  

‘The One I Love,’ with Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass, Ted Danson. Written and directed by Charlie McDowell. 91 minutes. Rated R for language, some sexuality and drug use. Sundance Cinemas (21+).

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“We used to be great,” says Sophie (Elisabeth Moss, aka Peggy from “Mad Men”), sighing. She and her husband, Ethan (Mark Duplass), are sitting in the office of a marriage counselor (Ted Danson), wondering what went wrong. Once they were happy, irreverent, goofy — now they’re sitting far apart, unsmiling. What they need, says the counselor, is a place to “reset the reset button,” and off he sends them to an idyllic, isolated retreat: a luxurious house in the sun-dappled countryside, filled with comfy sofas and twinkle lights, with a quaint little guesthouse out back. And what happens there is ...

Nope. “The One I Love,” from first-time filmmaker Charlie McDowell, is one of those highly original films whose secrets are best experienced without much hint of what’s to come. So I’ll just say that the film feels like it might be a romantic comedy, but soon becomes something else; that Moss and Duplass have a charming, playful chemistry; that the film takes us to some unexpected places; and that, after watching it twice, I’m still not certain that the concept holds up. (Though only 91 minutes, “The One I Love” seems to go on a little too long.) But it’s a pleasure to see something fresh and different, however imperfect, and the film’s two charismatic stars almost make it work.

Worth a look, definitely. I’ll say no more.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com



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