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Monday, October 5, 2015

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Romantic comedy feels at times like tragedy

Tags: Arts
Melanie Lynskey and Christopher Abbott in Hello Must Be Going.

Hello I Must Be Going should strike a disheartening chord of recognition among some viewers.

What if your beloved daughter goes through a painful divorce and lands on your doorstep?

That’s the theme of Todd Louiso’s feature film, scheduled to be screened by Chai Tea & A Movie on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 5 p.m. at the Cineplex Odeon Sheppard Cinemas. Ostensibly a romantic comedy, it unfolds at times like a tragedy.

Amy (Melanie Lynskey) has been dumped by her philandering husband and returns to the suburban home of her upper middle-class Jewish parents, Stan and Ruth Minsky (John Rubinstein and Blythe Danner). She arrives in an aimless frame of mind as they continue to remodel their ranch-style house.

Given to fainting spells and crying fits, Amy has become a recluse, not having left their house in three months. “You just had some bad luck,” says her father, trying to calm her frayed nerves.

Amy’s fortunes seem to take a turn for the better after she meets Jeremy (Christopher Abbott) at a dinner party hosted by her parents. Jeremy, 19 and about a decade younger than Amy, is an aspiring actor who has serious doubts about acting.

He’s also the son of an entrepreneur who’s thinking of forming a partnership with Amy’s father, a lawyer who badly needs the business so he can settle into retirement comfortably.

As the film gains traction, Jeremy seduces Amy, who seems to have nothing better to do than to roll in the hay with him. Louiso handles these scenes competently enough, creating a dual world of lustful encounters and budding business deals.

He is also adept at drawing a portrait of a young divorcee struggling to get back on her feet and deciding whether her romantic fling with Jeremy is worth the trouble.

Lynskey is convincing as Amy, while Abbott delivers a fairly credible performance as a young man who falls hard for an older women.

Danner, looking alternately haggard and glamorous in a supporting role, is the personification of a bored and frustrated housewife whose destiny lies entirely in her husband’s hands. Rubinstein, cast as a minor player, has little to do and is eminently forgettable.

Hello I Must Be Going has something to say about failed relationships and new beginnings, but it feels like yesterday’s loaf of bread and is thus somewhat stale.

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