Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans 'Kick-Ass' Creator Mark Millar Says A Hit-Girl Solo Movie Was Once In The Works With 'The Raid' Director Gareth Evans Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon & Leslie Jones To Lead Paul Feig's 'Ghostbusters' Reboot 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners 30 Films You Forgot Were Oscar Winners Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Review: Documentary 'Night Will Fall' Is A Powerful Reminder Of The Horrors Of The Holocaust Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Explains What Happened With 'Grace Of Monaco,' Says He Was Right About 'Snowpiercer' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' The 10 Best Films Of 2004 The 10 Best Films Of 2004 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Sundance Review: 'Hello I Must Be Going' A Smart, Smutty & Sweet Tale About Love, Divorce & Growing Up In Your Mid-30s

The Playlist By James Rocchi | The Playlist January 28, 2012 at 8:53AM

If there's a trend in the fiction narratives at Sundance in 2012, it's the series of smart(-ish), sweet(-er) and smutty(-styled) comedies in the mix here in Park City, some of which have been remarkably well-received ("For a Good Time Call") and some of which are not ("Bachelorette"). Think of it as the aftershocks and propagation wave of Judd Apatow's success, demonstrating that audiences can, and will, like characters who talk about their lives and lusts in blunt terms, make mistakes, and spend part of the time fucking and the rest of it fucking up.
2
Melanie Lynskey Hello I Must Be Going

If there's a trend in the fiction narratives at Sundance in 2012, it's the series of smart(-ish), sweet(-er) and smutty(-styled) comedies in the mix here in Park City, some of which have been remarkably well-received ("For a Good Time Call") and some of which are not ("Bachelorette"). Think of it as the aftershocks and propagation wave of Judd Apatow's success, demonstrating that audiences can, and will, like characters who talk about their lives and lusts in blunt terms, make mistakes, and spend part of the time fucking and the rest of it fucking up.

Directed by actor-turned-director Todd Louiso and written by Louiso's wife Sarah Koskoff, "Hello I Must Be Going" stars Melanie Lynskey as Amy Minsky, a 35-year-old, shell-shocked and shattered in the wake of her divorce. For three months now, Amy's been staying in her mom and dad's house, which is being renovated; the only thing that can blast Amy out of bed is the buzz of the bandsaw every morning. Amy's dad Stan (John Rubenstein) is distant yet loving; his idea of both a heart-to-heart and a life philosophy is to shrug and say, 'What are you gonna do?" Her mother Ruth (Blythe Danner) is a blithe and busy woman, who, when she asks if Amy has heard of antidepressants, pronounces it as if the word were hyphenated and rhymed with "croissant." Something is going to have to bring Amy around. A little self-realization, self-criticism and hot inadvisable sex in the back of her mom's Infiniti might just be the ticket.

Louiso's "Love Liza," starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, was a more dark and more dour look at the end of love -- in that case, a love was torn apart by death, and not divorce. But -- unlike the glib, glossy and entirely idiotic "Crazy Stupid Love" -- "Hello, I Must Be Going" takes divorce seriously, as a matter of both acrimony and alimony, covering both the legal papers and the crimes of the heart. And Lynskey, who's spent time in filmmaking heaven ("Heavenly Creatures," "Shattered Glass") and modern media hell ("Two and a Half Men," "Coyote Ugly"), hurls herself into the part -- the heartbreak, the comedy, the awkward pauses and the physical bits -- with enthusiasm and charm.

At a dinner for the great white whale client of her dad's dreams -- if Stan's firm lands these clients, he can retire -- Amy meets the client's younger son, an actor named Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), best-known for a kid's show and some stage work. He and Amy kiss. He and Amy then do more than that. It might endanger the deal. It also doesn’t help that Jeremy is 19. (As a brief side note, I am not going to suggest that these sorts of relationships do not happen in the wake of divorce, when people are not at their best, but I will note that if the genders of the characters were swapped, and "Hello I Must Be Going" depicted a 35-year-old man having a sexually charged relationship with a 19-year-old woman, the film's plot would probably be seen as more squeam-inducing than sweet).

What makes "Hello I Must Be Going" as good as it is isn't merely the great work by the cast (including Julie White as Jeremy's mom, who believes her son is gay by virtue of a very convincing performance he once gave as a gay character; Jeremy shrugs it off saying, "My mom…really likes the idea of being accepting …") It's also the way Koskoff and Louiso's script finds humanity and humor in real behavior, not the strained and phony movie version of the same. A friend referred to the film negatively as "that rich, white people problems movie," but a lot of the behavior in the film would play out the same way if the Minskys were more blue collar than white, more striving than well-off. (Whether financially successful or financially ruined, no one wants to spend three months on their parent's couch at 35).

"Hello I Must Be Going" is frank and funny about sex (including a hilarious and perfectly-timed P.O.V. joke that would expire through further explanation), but it's also as heartfelt as it is horny. Amy says to Jeremy "…you taught me how to be loved," with true sincerity, and you can see him feel that -- even as he shakes his head appreciatively and ruefully, saying "Man…that's good." And while Amy is lightly battered by her mom's unkind observations and supported by her dad's reserved love -- expressed mainly in mutual viewings of Marx Brothers films, hence the title -- the film also shows that Amy isn't the only person here with discontents and despair, flaws and failings. Warm and funny, real and raw, "Hello I Must Be Going" deserves a hearty welcome from moviegoers looking for an honest and frank comedy that never forgets to help us care about its characters. [B+]

This article is related to: Hello I Must Be Going, Sundance 2012 Reviews


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates