Movie Review - The One (2011)

Ian Novick (left) &
Jon Prescott in "The One"
The One is billed as such but it's not a typical, Hollywood, romantic comedy. It's less comedic as it is more a romantic drama. Writer-director Caytha Jentis has a sense of humor, but I feel like she's never pushing that sense of humor onto the audience. There aren't witty one-liners every other second. The situational comedy is all quite subtle and the characters aren't over-the-top.

This is perhaps a good thing. Jentis is playing with tropes of gay films, especially gay films dealing with the all too common theme of "coming out" and pushing those tropes and themes too much would just be like reguritation.

This movie was described as a remake of the 1982 film Making Love. Because Jentis knows she's not treading new ground, she instead doesn't overplay her hand. Jentis plays this movie like a simple chess game where the actors move like pieces on the board, the King, the Queen, the Knight, the Bishop, the Rook, and the Pawn each getting eliminated piece by piece until there's only one left.

Jon Prescott plays Daniel Morris, an investment banker in New York who's engaged to be married, but his life is disrupted when he meets and falls in love with a former college classmate named Tommy, played by Ian Novick. The movie starts off quiet and unassuming with Tommy recounting the first night that he and Daniel spent together. It follows Daniel for over a year as he makes the decision to live life as a hetereosexual husband or not.

From 1982's Making Love to the monumental Brokeback Mountain (2005), a lot of the scenes here are familiar. To viewers of contemporary gay films, so many of these scenes have been seen before, certainly in terms of the conversations and circumstances. Jentis' direction and the performances of the actors, however, feel genuine.

The one question really is if both Prescott and Novick will have on-screen chemistry with each other. The answer, I think, is yes, and Prescott and Novick establish that chemistry in the very first minute of the movie. In fact, their first 30 seconds of screen time lays down that these two guys do have feelings for one another, true loving feelings and we should root for them.

As the movie progresses, the certitude and strength of those feelings only grow, but then abruptly stop. There comes a point in the movie where whatever love the two men had between them comes to a screeching halt. Typically, romantic comedies have happy endings, at least happy in the romantic sense. This one doesn't.

The movie does end on an upbeat note, but not a note for which the audience would have expected at the outset. In that respect, it's unsatisfying but at the same time the ending is so sweet and touching that I couldn't help but be charmed by it.

The movie has been playing the film festival circuit since April where it premiered in Philadelphia. It will get a limited theatrical release in September before being made available on DVD on Oct. 18.

Four Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but Recommended for Mature Audiences.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 29 mins.


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