Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hello I Must Be Going

Directed by Todd Luiso and written by Susan Koskoff, Hello I Must Be Going is about a woman who moves back home with her parents following her divorce where she finds herself falling for a younger man. The film is an exploration of a woman trying to start over as she deals with divorce and failure. Starring Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, John Rubenstein, Christopher Abbott, and Dan Futterman. Hello I Must Be Going is an extraordinary film from Todd Luiso.

The film is the simple story of a woman in her mid-30s who moves back home with her parents as she’s dealing with a divorce as she has no idea what to do as she’s in a state of depression. During a dinner party with her parents, her brother, her sister-in-law and a client of her father who brought his 19 year-old son, the woman engages into an affair with the young man where they’re both dealing with issues in their lives as the woman also feels being slighted by her mother who is hoping to go on a trip and retire. The film is essentially a character study of this woman named Amy (Melanie Lynskey) who spends her time at home moping as she is reluctant to get back into the world as she is trying to figure out why did she get divorced.

Susan Koskoff’s screenplay takes it time to explore Amy’s life as this new-divorcee who is angry over the fact that her ex-husband David (Dan Futterman) cheated on her and ended their marriage. She’s back at home not sure what to do and she annoys her mother Ruth (Blythe Danner) who is overlooking the renovation of the house while her father Stan (John Rubenstein) is doing one final job before he can retire. Upon meeting Jeremy (Christopher Abbott) at a dinner party where they have a secret affair, the two vent on their frustrations in life as Jeremy wants to stop acting while his parents think he’s gay. Amy’s affair with Jeremy would later cause some very strange moments where they’re nearly found out but it would also make Amy face her own faults but also try to figure out what went wrong in her marriage as she feels like her mother is blaming her for ruining her own life.

Todd Luiso’s direction is very understated in its simplicity where he uses a lot of close-ups and some medium shots to explore a woman dealing with the state of her life. Much of it includes some hand-held shots and some intimate moments such as a few scenes where Amy and Jeremy would have sex in the car and then talk about their frustrations in life. Shot largely in Westport, Connecticut, the film has a look and feel that seems like it could be anywhere yet it does maintain something that is low-key while Luiso also finds way to have some of the film’s humorous moments be played out naturally such as a scene of Amy coming out of the pool naked singing the Canadian anthem only to be caught by Jeremy’s mother. It’s among these moments that play into Amy’s growth and understanding as a woman as well as trying to find herself. Overall, Luiso crafts a very solid yet mesmerizing film about a woman trying to figure out the next stage in her life.

Cinematographer Julie Kirkwood does excellent work with the film‘s cinematography from the low-key use of lights for the scenes at night as well as the use of colors for some of the daytime scenes. Editor Tom McArdle does terrific work with the editing as it‘s very understated while using a few rhythmic cuts to play out some of the humor. Production designer Russell Barnes and set decorator Daniel R. Kersting do amazing work with the look of the home that Amy’s parents live as well as the house that Jeremy lives in with his parents.

Costume designer Bobby Frederick Tilley does nice work with the costumes from the casual look of the main characters to some of the dresses that Amy wears for dinner dates and such. Sound mixer Christopher J. Leone does fantastic work with some of the film‘s sound to convey some of the atmosphere of the locations as well as some of the mix of sounds in the party scenes. The film’s music by Laura Veirs is wonderful as it is a largely folk-based score with arpeggio guitars along with some original songs by Veirs while music supervisor Holly Adams creates a similar soundtrack that includes contributions from other lesser-known artists with the exception of a song from Billy Squier.

The casting by Kerry Barden, Allison Estrin, and Paul Schnee is brilliant for the ensemble that is created as it features some appearances from Meera Simhan as an old high school classmate of Amy’s, Tori Feinstein as Amy’s niece Caley, Daniel Eric Gold and Sara Chase in their respective roles of Amy’s brother Noah and his wife Missy, Jimmi Simpson as a guy Amy went on a blind date with, Damian Young as Jeremy’s stepfather, and Julie White in a very funny performance as Jeremy’s mother who tries to figure him out as she’s also a therapist. Dan Futterman is terrific in a one-scene performance as Amy’s ex-husband David who meets with Amy where they just try to settle things as he wonders about the things he did.

Christopher Abbott is excellent as Jeremy as a young 19-year old actor who is frustrated with his choice of profession as well as the fact that he is trying to figure out what to do as he falls for Amy. John Rubenstein is superb as Amy’s father Stan as someone who is always caring and making sure she is okay while dealing with the fact that he is set to retire. Blythe Danner is amazing as Amy’s mother Ruth as a woman just obsessed with renovating her house and making sure she will enjoy her husband’s retirement while being a bit snippy towards Amy and her situation. Finally, there’s Melanie Lynskey in a remarkable performance as Amy as this woman in her mid-30s dealing with divorce where Lynskey brings this nice mix of understated drama and humor to the performance that makes Amy a very unique and relatable woman.

Hello I Must Be Going is a phenomenal film from Todd Luiso that features an incredible performance from Melanie Lynskey. Along with strong supporting work from Blythe Danner, John Rubenstein, and Christopher Abbott, the film is a very witty yet engaging portrait of a woman dealing with divorce and failure as she tries to get herself back up. In the end, Hello I Must Be Going is a delightful film from Todd Luiso.

© thevoid99 2013


Brittani Burnham said...

Great review! I loved this film, especially Lynskey's performance. She's very underrated.

thevoid99 said...

Totally. I hope she gets to do more in the years to come and hopefully share a film with Kate Winslet to make it a Heavenly Creatures reunion.