Selected as the opening night film for Sundance 2012, ‘Hello I Must Be Going’ features acclaimed actress Melanie Lynskey in her breakout role as Amy, a recent divorcee who seeks refuge in the suburban Connecticut home of her parents (Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein). Demoralized and uncertain of her future, Amy begins an affair with a 19-year-old actor (Christopher Abbott) that jumpstarts her passion for life and helps her discover an independence and sense of purpose that she has missed for years.
For those folks that have been through a divorce in their thirties, the anguish and confusion put on display in Hello I Must Be Going will be all to familiar. Melanie Lynskey plays Amy, a mid-thirties gal that suddenly finds her world upside down. She has no job, no prospects, no marriage and now she finds herself being relegated to moving back in with her parents. Essentially she is living the thirty something nightmare that most all of us have thought about if not lived through.
Lynskey is brilliant in what amounts to her first opportunity to take the lead in a movie. She is nearly flawless in the movie, and makes each one of us feel what she feels throughout. Lynskey is going to be a superstar in the movie business and I believe that with all my heart.
The character Amy is the central figure of this movie, but there is plenty more to see and experience. Amy, however distastefully, falls for the 19 year old boy of one of her father’s clients. This young man is named Jeremy (Christopher Abbott) and he is the perfect ying to her yang in this film. The connection should not be so good, but it is. She is underdeveloped maturity wise and he is not your average 19 year old.
Amy’s parents are also interesting to say the least. Blythe Danner plays mom and she is incredible in her role. She exudes all the qualities and shortcomings that a mother might have at a time like this, and her critical nature paints Amy into a corner throughout much of the film. She literally is able to reduce Amy to nothing in only a few words, and it seems she has no reservations about doing so. She somehow manages to be laugh out loud funny in the movie at times, but you still have a tough time liking her.
This is the backdrop against which Amy has to find her way through this horrible stage in her life. Can you imagine?
The relationship between Amy and Jeremy is never one that you can take seriously, but at the same time it seems to be the lone good thing going for Amy. You should be repulsed at the fact that she is dating someone so young, but somehow she manages to pull off her scenes coming off as younger (emotionally at least) than Jeremy. The two of them are beautiful together and do a wonderful job of making the film matter to anyone, regardless of their age or gender. There is literally something for anyone in this movie.
Todd Louiso directs this film brilliantly with what feels like a hands-off approach. You can tell the actors are enjoying what they are doing, and the movie flows beautifully and smoothly.
The script is penned by Sarah Koskoff and is brilliant in its simplicity. It would seem that the movie would be overly simple, but that is really a huge strength here. The actors are given a palette and allowed to paint a picture within the framework of the idea. The story is familiar as well, making it very easy to relate to. Koskoff hit a home run with this screen play.
A surprising highlight of the film involves the score. Laura Veirs literally raises us up and down along with the movie and does so without us even realizing that it happened. Music that moves the viewer is rare any more on the smaller market films, but this one is a peach.
In the end, Hello, I Must Be Going is a wonderful comedy that has enough dramatic moments to be considered in that genre as well. If you want a solid dramedy, then this is the movie for you.