Hello I Must Be Going

Hello I Must Be Going

On the surface, Todd Louiso’s Hello I Must Be Going feels apiece with a familiar American indie formula, as the film features at its narrative center a thirtysomething woman from an upper-middle class home suffering through a personal and emotional crisis. And to be fair, the film encounters more than a few moments in which it comes across like a direct continuation of this recent “Sundance formula.” At the same time, Hello I Must be Going is a sincerely personal take on its subject matter, opting for three-dimensional leads and earned pathos over quirky character traits, cynical humor, or an invasively stylized visual approach. Amy (Melanie Lynskey) is living with her parents in overbearingly quaint suburban Connecticut while enduring a stage of extended limbo after a divorce with her hotshot NYC lawyer husband cheated on her with an associate. Amy’s father, Stan (John Rubinstein) is attempting to woo a client whose business would ensure retirement and trips around the world, while Amy’s mom Ruth (the wonderful Blythe Danner) grows increasingly tired of Amy’s aimless occupation of the house. At a business dinner, Amy meets and falls for her father’s client’s 19-year-old son Jeremy (Christopher Abbott) and a mismatched rebound quickly morphs into a complicated emotional journey that forces Amy to learn what love is and establish her self-worth.

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Hello, I Must Be Going

Sundance 2012 chose Hello, I Must Be Going as one of its opening night films, putting it in the company of numerous films that have gone on to become critical and commercial darlings. The likes of In Bruges (2008), Happy Endings (2004) and Project Nim (2011), just to name a few. Needless to say, you don’t get chosen by Sundance to open the festival if your film is terrible. So that bodes well for this story of a recently divorced woman (Melanie Lynskey) and her rediscovery of her sense of purpose via her affair with a 19-year old boy. Directed by Todd Louiso (yes, the one from High Fidelity), Hello, I Must Be Going has a lot of great buzz coming out of the festival toward its release in September.

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Last year’s Sundance Film Festival saw an uptick in films regarding, weirdly enough, cults and cult-like sensibilities. This year’s theme has turned to an appropriate cousin to the dangers of indoctrination – the crumbling of the American dream. Characters that bought into what they thought they could (and should) get out of life have faced copious crises throughout the festival’s films, and Todd Louiso‘s lovely Hello I Must Be Going distills those big ideas and issues down to focus on just one victim of the American nightmare. Perpetual supporting standout Melanie Lynskey leads the film as directionless thirtysomething Amy Minsky. Amy’s happy (in her eyes) marriage to David (Dan Futterman) has recently ended, and she’s left with one place to go – back to her parents’ home in chi-chi suburban Connecticut. Without a job, a finished degree, friends, or most of her belongings, Amy is forced to acclimate to Ruth (Blythe Danner) and Stan (John Rubinstein) as they embark on the next step of their lives. In Louiso and screenwriter Sarah Koskoff‘s spin on a “one last job” film, Stan has one more big fish client to land before retiring – an engagement that could be ruined when Amy takes up with the client’s stepson, Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), who just happens to be only nineteen-years-old.

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No matter how much fun a festival is, there inevitably comes a time when a festival-goer reaches a wall, a point where exhaustion and stress and bad food and frustrations all settle in and refuse to budge. I met my wall this morning, my alarm blaring away at 7:15AM as I lay slack-jawed and stunned in bed. Morning. More. More things. I did the only thing I could do. I got up.

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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