A charming romantic comedy with wide appeal

He's 19, she's 35 -- but which of them is more mature? Todd Louiso's "Hello I Must Be Going" is a Sundance winner

Topics: Sundance Film Festival, Movies, Quick Takes,

A charming romantic comedy with wide appealMelanie Lynskey in "Hello I Must Be Going"

PARK CITY, Utah — In keeping with Robert Redford’s stern opening-night admonition that his festival is “all about independent filmmaking artists — we always have been and we always will be,” here’s a Sundance item bereft of color commentary, celebrity sightings or observations about the Utah weather (which remains unseasonably mild). Todd Louiso’s wry, sharply-observed romantic comedy “Hello I Must Be Going” premiered late on Thursday night, and if it’s too subtle (and too similar to several other low-key indie romcoms) to make a big splash, it’s got lovely performances and really builds strength as it goes along.

If Louiso’s name rings a dim and distant bell in your mind, it may be because of his quasi-legendary supporting performance as a know-it-all record-store clerk in Stephen Frears’ “High Fidelity,” lo, these many years ago. He’s now primarily a director, and on the evidence quite a skilled one. The problem with “Hello I Must Be Going” is that Sarah Koskoff’s screenplay starts out so modestly: You think it’s just going to be a female early-midlife-crisis movie, or an older-woman/younger-guy love story, and, heck, it is both of those things. But to my taste, as the movie goes along it becomes much richer and funnier than that summary suggests, painting a satirical but sympathetic portrait of upper-crust family life in Westport, Conn., a rather toff and beachy New York suburb.



New Zealand actress Melanie Lynskey is terrific as a depressed, 30-something recent divorcee named Amy, who has moved back in with her Westport parents, who simultaneously support and undermine her in all the wrong ways. Her hypercritical mom is Blythe Danner and her willfully blind high-end lawyer dad is John Rubinstein, and each of them is worth the price of admission by themselves. Amy’s life of watching TV and eating cookies is upended by the handsome and thoughtful Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), a fast-rising young actor known for his recent largely-nude performance in a play about Robert Mapplethorpe. Everyone around Jeremy, especially his therapist mom (the hilarious Julie White) assumes he’s gay, but once he’s one-on-one with Amy, that proves to be untrue. Jeremy is arguably much more mature and together than Amy is, but the fact remains that he’s also 19 years old.

Louiso plays out this scenario both sweetly and plausibly, and as I’ve suggested, gets the biggest laughs from the situation late in the game. I’m pretty sure some distributor will eventually take a flyer on “Hello I Must Be Going,” and I only hope they market it tenderly and carefully. The odds are always against an indie drama that lacks big stars or a headline-grabbing hook, but nurtured carefully this one could have relatively wide appeal.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Rose Jay via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Labrador Retriever

    These guys are happy because their little brains literally can't grasp the concept of global warming.

    Hysteria via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    German Shepherd

    This momma is happy to bring her little guy into the world, because she doesn't know that one day they'll both be dead.

    Christian Mueller via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Golden Retriever

    I bet these guys wouldn't be having so much fun if they knew the sun was going to explode one day.

    WilleeCole Photography via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Bulldog

    This dude thinks he's tough, but only because nobody ever told him about ISIS.

    Soloviova Liudmyla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Beagle

    This little lady is dreaming about her next meal-- not Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

    Labrador Photo Video via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Yorkshire Terrier

    This trusting yorkie has never even heard the name "Bernie Madoff."

    Pavla via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Poodle

    She is smiling so widely because she is too stupid to understand what the Holocaust was.

    Aneta Pics via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Boxer

    Sure, frolic now, man. One day you're going to be euthanized and so is everyone you love.

    Dezi via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    French Bulldog

    He's on a casual afternoon stroll because he is unfamiliar with the concept of eternity.

    Jagodka via Shutterstock

    Most popular dog breeds in America

    Rottweiler

    Wouldn't it be nice if we could all be this care-free? But we can't because we are basically all indirectly responsible for slavery.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>