The One I Love, directed by Charlie McDowell, is about a married couple, Ethan and Sophie, who are trying to rekindle their relationship. Their marriage counselor suggests to them a weekend away together at a house that many of his clients have been to. What is great about this movie is that if you think you know where it’s going already by those first two sentences, you’re probably wrong.
The place that Sophie and Ethan stay immediately seems whimsical; an adorable house with a beautiful and spacious garden. Greenery, flowers, a pool, the works. Making it seem more like a fantasy than reality, the soundtrack also adds to this atmosphere. The couple discovers a guest house on the property, just as attractive as the rest of it, and this is where things take a turn.
After a nice dinner, a couple glasses of wine, and some weed, the couple go explore the guest house together. It seems as though this mini vacation is exactly what they need. Sex on the couch, trying to throw grapes into each other’s mouths, they’re actually getting along, and most importantly, acting like a couple in love.
Deciding they would sleep in the guest house, Sophie runs to the main house to get some clothes to sleep in. Somehow, Ethan beats her there and is fast asleep in front of the TV. She wakes him up, thinking it’s a joke. When Ethan asks why she is so sweaty, she thinks he’s continuing to joke and pretending not to remember that they just had sex. Though Ethan seems to genuinely not recall having a lovely evening with his wife, Sophie goes to bed angry. Confused, Ethan sleeps in the guest house alone. But, in the middle of the night, Sophie cuddles Ethan on the couch and we assume the fight is over.
Ethan wakes up to a perfectly happy Sophie cooking him bacon, which she normally hates, which leaves him a bit muddled. When he goes back to the main house, Sophie is wearing something else and is angry about last night. Even weirder, she denies snuggling him after their fight.
Something very strange is happening, whether it was some bad weed or there are Sophie and Ethan doppelgangers, you’ll have to find out for yourself. However, the real questions are if Ethan and Sophie can overcome the obstacles of their marriage and what will happen by the end of the weekend.
In addition to a unique plot, The One I Love has some great performances (Mark Duplass and Elizabeth Moss are essentially the only cast, and they play two different versions of their characters), bright saturation, a great soundtrack, and a timeless theme. When you’re in a long-term relationship, you must accept your partner for exactly who they are. Sometimes we have an image of a perfect version of our partner in our minds, but it’s not real. In fact, the real-life person we are with will always be the best version. The One I Love explores just this, and leaves us thinking long after the credits stop rolling.