Sundance 2012 Review: HELLO I MUST BE GOING

 

Hello I Must Be Going begins like every student film you've ever seen: a woman slowly wakes up and brushes her teeth. But the film hurdles this obstacle quickly and becomes a charming tale of personal growth, discovery, and, of course, love.

While going through a divorce, Amy (Melanie Lynskey) moves back in with her parents (Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein) and sinks into a depression, slumming around the house in the same ratty shirt day after day. When her dad hosts a party at the house to impress a new client, the client's 19-year-old son Jeremy (Christopher Abbott) makes an impression on Amy. They're both treated like children at dinner, with their families carrying on conversations about them as if they weren't even there, and the two share a moment after dinner. What starts as a quick fling evolves into a relationship that will change them forever, allowing them both to grow up even though there's a large age gap between them.

It's not the most original concept, especially for a film festival seemingly built for these types of movies, but it's got a lot of heart and the acting is excellent. Lynskey balances palpable realism and conservative comedy in her performance and she's a joy to watch, never straying into melodramatic or over the top territory. Danner adds to her impressive resume with some more solid work, and though I found Abbott to be the weak link, he was still agreeable in the role of the young suitor. The script is compelling and brisk enough, with no noticable lag time and some fascinating relationships at play between familes.

Ultimately, Hello I Must Be Going succeeds or fails on the virtues of Lynskey's performance, and I was totally invested from the start. (OK, maybe right after the teeth brushing scene.) I'm very interested to see what she's got coming up next, but in the meantime, check this one out if you get a chance. It's a small little love story with a good twist on the standard coming-of-age tales you see every year. Until next time...

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