Wednesday, February 10, 2021

The Right One: Movie Review

A different kind of rom-com with a unique character.
What we have here is a good premise with a bad title masquerading as a romantic comedy. I get the desire to market it as a rom-com, certainly an easier sell than a drama about grief and mental illness. The Right One is also sort-of half and half. Two lead characters from very different movies combining to give us something unique.   2021

Directed by: Ken Mok

Screenplay by: Ken Mok

Starring: Nick Thune, Cleopatra Coleman

Sara (Cleopatra Coleman) is your traditional rom-com lead. She’s a writer, and single, and her best friend/agent has convinced her it’s time to get back out there. She’s sweet, relatable, a mostly unoffensive protagonist, who only occasionally gets annoying. On the flipside, Godfrey (Nick Thune), is a very different kind of lead character. He’s charismatic, larger-than-life, flitting from scene to scene as a completely different person. He’s interesting as both a person who is obviously hiding from the world and at the same time, interesting on a surface-level as this manic personality shifter. He is an excellently crafted character who isn’t at home in a romantic comedy.

This is where we leave rom-com world. As Sara gets more infatuated with Godfrey, we start exploring the traumatic, sad, grief-filled past (and present) that compels Godfrey to be anybody but himself. The majority of the movie is a sweet, upbeat examination of grief and mental illness. The film makes a comment that he’s not mentally ill, but this deep-seated grief most clearly presents itself as mental illness, making it difficult to distinguish the two.

If you’re like me, you’ve seen Nick Thune around in various roles in the past but never took the time to learn his name. For me at least, that changes now. He is captivating in all his different personas and even after commanding the screen as an art critic, cowboy singer, or DJ or Argentinian dancer, he is able to slink away into the background when Sara reveals who he really is. He found a way to turn the charisma on and off as it fits the character and it’s a really interesting aspect of Godfrey and a real dimension that people like Godfrey possess.

The Right One is not what you’re expecting – although with that terrible title, you’re probably not expecting anything at all. It has a lot of comedy at the beginning; David Koechner has only a couple of scenes but sets an excellent comedic tone. Stand-up comedian Iliza Shlesinger plays the rom-com best-friend, spending most of the movie making ridiculous statements but comes through for Sara when we need her to. Shlesinger has good comedic timing but her character was mostly unlikable and not consistently well written.

The movie shines with Nick Thune and Godfrey. That’s where it’s uniqueness and quality writing come through. It has a few minor pacing issues, but it is short with a very pleasant tone as the romance does help stop the grief from weighing it down.