THE ONE I LOVE // No one is pulling off independent science fiction better than Mark Duplass. In 2012, Duplass starred in “Safety Not Guaranteed,” a psychological sci-fi that played more on relationships rather than the time travel element that made it unique. This year, he stars in “The One I Love,” with Elisabeth Moss (“Mad Men”) as a couple that heads off to a retreat to try and save their marriage after their counseling sessions with their therapist, played by Ted Danson, prove unsuccessful. At a secluded cottage in the middle of nowhere, they stumble across some unexplainable phenomenon going on in the guest house. Once again, focusing more on the relationship between the characters rather than the science fiction twists, Duplass presents his homegrown, every man’s man aura while Moss takes the reins and produces one of her strongest performances yet.

Without a doubt one of the most original films this year, “The One I Love” never goes in the direction you think it will. Using the character’s emotions of jealousy and desire to mask what is really happening to them, the filmmakers are able to bury their secrets and reveal them at the most opportune moments. Even the ambiguous ending is expertly placed and thought-provokingly vague enough to cause the audience to mull over what just happened long after the credits roll. One of the biggest signs that make this a successful venture is the fact that there are only the three actors in the entire film, and yet somehow, they never grow stale and they continue to carry the weight that a much bigger cast would carry in any other film. Since I cannot talk about “The One I Love” in too much detail without giving away some major plot points, I will leave the rest up to you and your own viewing of the film. One thing is for sure, I will now associate Mark Duplass with uniquely written, independent fare, and his future projects will become must-sees as soon as their trailers hit the internet.

[Directed by Charlie McDowell] [R] [91 min] [8 August 2014]   08four-stars

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