It seems like nowadays there's no end of films about folks unable to make it in the adult world. A good deal of these narratives are aimed directly at a male experience (y'know, like most films produced) of arrested development. Refreshingly, Hello I Must Be Going, like last year's Young Adult, has its eye on unpacking the life crisis of a woman in her thirties dealing with a post-divorce depressive spiral.
Amy (Melanie Lynskey) has landed back at her parent's home after being jilted by her ex-husband. There's little indication that she's ready to move on with things anytime soon. She constantly wears a ratty old t-shirt around the house and has developed sleeping patterns more akin to a teenager on summer break. Her mother (Blythe Danner) is reaching the end of her rope with Amy, while Amy's father (John Rubinstein), perhaps due to his own economic worries, appears distracted, willing to allow Amy to figure it out in her own time.
Things begin to shift as Amy encounters Jeremy (Christopher Abbot from Lena Dunham's Girls), a significantly younger man, at a dinner held at her parent's home. The social engagement is meant to lubricate a possible business arrangement between Amy and Jeremy's fathers, one that would allow Amy's dad to recover enough financially to be able to retire. There's a instantaneous spark between Amy and Jeremy. Despite Amy's sense that the relationship is inappropriate, she quickly gives in to their mutual attraction and begins sneaking around at night with Jeremy.
Directed by actor Todd Louiso (probably best known for playing Dick in High Fidelity), Hello I Must Be Going is an actor's piece. The story doesn't stray too far outside the basic setup and viewers probably will guess how it will all work out fairly early on in the film. The real attraction here is the performances, especially those of Rubinstein and Lynskey who create a believable, organic father/daughter relationship out of very little. Watching them interact, one can easily draw a line between the way he deals with his failures and how she reacts to her own. Whenever they share the screen, there's an intimacy between them that's breathtaking in its quiet, emotional depth.
Overall, Hello I Must Be Going is a modest piece, well-drawn, not too flashy, and peppered with fine, measured acting by its small ensemble. It compares favorably with other unsung indie fare of the past like Tully. It's a film waiting to be discovered by a small, enthusiastic few. With a little luck, perhaps word of mouth will carry it far. Maybe not. Those who do stumble upon it will be pleased that they did.
Hello I Must Be Going begins its run at Regal Fox Tower 10 on Friday, September 21st. More info available here.
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