"The One I Love" is a tough movie to write about if only because your enjoyment of it depends on preserving the true nature of what happens in Charlie McDowell's smart satire of modern relationships.
That means revealing nothing beyond the basic premise: a couple (Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass) travels to a secluded retreat in Northern California in a bid to revive their faltering marriage.
The events there, conveyed in broad comic terms with a sinister underpinning, play out like the world's wackiest couples' therapy session. They illuminate the hard truth about love: It's never perfect and the other person can never be exactly whom we want them to be.
The movie flirts with running aground because of its high-concept nature, but Moss and Duplass sustain things, carrying out the complicated, twist-ridden experience of marriage in a fashion that convincingly exposes the best and worst qualities of both characters. They're sweet and caring on one hand, and narcissistic monsters on the other. Above all, they're just like you and me, seeking that ever-elusive happiness in a cold, confusing world.
Directed by Charlie McDowell | Starring Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass | Rated R Playing at Angelika and on VOD