Title: HELLO I MUST BE GOING
Director: Todd Louiso
Screenwriter: Sarah Koskoff
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, Christopher Abbott, John Rubinstein, Julie White
Screened at: Review 1, NYC, 8/21/12
Opens: September 7, 2012
Though the two principal characters are not in their twenties, “Hello I Must Be Going” is a typical Sundance offering, chosen this year to open that festival in Park City, Utah. Despite a performance from Melanie Lynskey who is as cute as she was in her first role in 1994 as a girl with a rich fantasy life in Peter Jackson’s “Heavenly Creatures,” the comedy is slight, perhaps to be appreciated more on the small screen than in the movie house. The relationship between 35-year-old Amy (Melanie Lynskey) and 19-year-old Jeremy (Christopher Abbott) is not as strange as Amy makes it out to be since, after all, women live eight years longer than men and a marriage between the two would at least begin to close the gap. Still, love at first sight is still love and we in the audience might hope that the two would get together on a more permanent basis notwithstanding Amy’s—but not Jeremy’s—hesitation.
Lynskey performs in the role of a mid-thirties woman who is back to bunking at the spacious house of her rich, Connecticut-based parents Ruth (Blythe Danner) and Stan (John Rubinstein). She is depressed after a divorce, which she considers not to be her fault since she was the one dumped by David (Dan Futterman) and has not left her folks’ Westport home for three months. Clad in a T-shirt, which brings out her adorable features, she is nonetheless pressured by her mom and dad to get something more feminine to wear. When she does, she looks five years older and nowhere as charming. Perhaps the T-shirt is what attracted young Jeremy to her, their eyes meeting coyly at a dinner that her father is throwing in an attempt to land a rich client for his law practice.
“Hello I Must Be Going” may situate Amy in her thirties, but this is still a coming-of-age story of a woman who only thinks she was happy in her marriage but discovers through a series of orgasms with Jeremy that maybe she had sold herself short. No question: she has to become more aware of her real feelings, move out of the house where she is treated like a kid, finish her Master’s thesis and get a job.
There are some vaguely comic scenes that find Amy dating a man with whom she is fixed up, and whose conversation at a restaurant is about the mercury content of fish; and a meeting with her former husband who without thinking takes the more comfortable, padded seat in a coffee house leaving her in the chair facing the wall. It is only when he pays more attention to his cell phone than to her that she gets the epiphany: her marriage sucked after all.
Overall, though, the best scenes take place between Amy parents and Jeremy’s therapist mom (Julie White), the latter showing her progressive point of view by accepting that her son is gay (he isn’t), and surprised when she returns home early to find both her son and Amy naked at the poolside. Blythe Danner’s Ruth, rich as she is through her husband’s law practice, is nonetheless when he refuses to retire and go “gallivanting around the globe,” their scenes most recognizable to those in the audience who are in their fifties and sixties and even beyond. Some more drama could have enhanced the limited emotional range of the movie, one which could have used some of the slapstick found in the Marx Brothers’ excerpts from which the title is taken.
Rated R. 95 minutes © 2012 by Harvey Karten, Member, New York Film Critics Online
Story – C+
Acting – B-
Technical – C+
Overall – C+