Perhaps best known as Dick, the reserved music geek in 2000's High Fidelity, actor and director Todd Louiso must have been thrilled to have his latest work, Hello I Must Be Going, announced as the Opening Night film at this year's Sundance Festival. And while critic reviews have been overwhelmingly positive in favor of the drama, Hello I Must Be Going left Sundance as a somewhat forgotten entity. But through the strong collective work of Louiso, screenwriter Sarah Koskoff and the film's leading lady Melanie Lynskey, Hello I Must Be Going looks to start hitting theatres nationwide in September.
Melanie Lynskey stars as Amy, a recently divorced and excessively depressed woman forced to move back in with her parents in Connecticut. But when her father is given the chance of a lifetime to lock down a massive client planning to spend the Summer with his family in a nearby home, Amy is asked to liven up and look presentable. While attempting to do so, she unexpectedly begins a romantic affair with Jeremy (played by Abbott), the 19 year old stepson of the potential client. Although the romance could jeopardize her father's retirement plans, Jeremy is exactly the rejuvenation that Amy needs to piece her life back together.
Hello I Must Be Going is a lighthearted journey in self discovery and self resurgence. Its subtle and gentle demeanor is perfectly complemented by the film's surprising ability to pour on the laughter. With her debut screenplay, actress turned writer Sarah Koskoff demonstrates her innate ability to mold together a genuine character through the use of comedic circumstance. Without the ingenious mixture of humor and drama that it flaunts so well, Hello I Must Be Going may have otherwise fallen by the wayside. Instead, the feature delivers an enduring and joyous viewing experience. Along with Koskoff, the picture's leading actress, Melanie Lynskey, proves she's more than capable of independently carrying a feature length film. The longtime actress has built a strong, yet mostly unrecognized, career that has finally put her in the driver's seat with this role. Lynskey seizes the opportunity and provides a lovable character that the audience can connect with easily. Her onscreen romance with Christopher Abbott, a talented young actor in his own right, feels authentic and honest. By tackling this somewhat taboo premise about a woman's romance with a young man almost half her age, Hello I Must Be Going could have easily come off as creepy or distasteful. However, the talents demonstrated by Lynskey and Abbott keep the chemistry visible and the content believable. Therefore, Hello I Must Be Going is a stellar film on many levels.
For all of its glowing attributes, there's still a little mess involved with Todd Lousio's latest effort. For starters, Lynskey's periodic outbursts of sadness and depression throughout the entire duration of the film undoubtedly wear on the audience. The "woe is me" approach is never endearing and, unfortunately, there's plenty of it to go around. But thanks to the constant smattering of jokes, all of the unamusing self pity somehow becomes forgotten. Another blemish to the film is the inconsistencies of a few characters. For example, Hello I Must Be Going builds up Amy's father to be the only sense of structure and dependability in her life. However, in the third act of the film his character proves to be anything but reliable. Little inconsistencies such as this one are evident from start to finish, and they add up to take away a small sense of credibility from the feature.
All in all Hello I Must Be Going is just another winning feature to come out of 2012's impressive Sundance Film Festival. While it's chances of any awards season recognition are minuscule at best, Hello I Must Be Going still proves to be a worthwhile experience. Its story of self discovery and revitalization is genuine and its script is light and fluffy enough to not "over-do" anything. Never dull or sluggish, Hello I Must Be Going is the type of film anyone can enjoy. Therefore, I recommend taking a flier on this one.