Monday, December 2, 2019

An unusually difficult, painful and very well-acted love story: Harry Wootliff's ONLY YOU

By now we've seen a number of films and cable entertainments that deal with the problems of couples who want children but are unable to procreate these in what we might have once called "standard fashion." (The most recent of these that TrustMovies readily recalls is Tamara Jenkins' fine film for Netflix, Private Life.)

Now comes British filmmaker Harry Wootliff's movie, ONLY YOU, an honest-to-god love story driven by this same engine of reproductive failure and how to handle it.

Ms Wootliff (shown at right; is her first name short for Harriet, I wonder?) begins her film with our heroine, Elena (beautifully played by Laia Costa, of The Time in Between), being told by her friends, as they drink themselves into oblivion, that she absolutely should be in a relationship.

Before you can say "meet semi-cute," she has connected with the character who will fill that bill, her co-star, played in even better fashion by Josh O'Connor, of God's Own Country and this new season of The Crown: he's Prince Charles. (Just this past Sunday evening, in fact, O'Connor won a BIFA award -- not BAFTA, as I unfortunately earlier posted -- for Best Actor of the Year for his role in this film, while Ms Wootliff won for Best Debut Director!) In short order we're confronted with what has the hallmarks of a real love relationship but simultaneously carries with it problems such as age difference (she's considerably older than she initially admits) and then the supposed necessity of pregnancy.

The writing and direction (both by Wootliff), together with the two lead performances, are all good enough to place us firmly on the side of the protagonists and keep us there -- despite some midway longueurs -- throughout. In my own experience and very probably yours, as well, we've seen enough real-life examples of infertility to make this dilemma more than merely believable.

Both parties here want to have a child and are willing to go through the necessities involved in bringing this to fruition. But what happens if and when nothing seems to work? How does our couple respond? You will see, and for the most part you will care and respond as does this pair.

The movie grow deeper and more painful as it moves along, buoyed by the work of its two leading actors, as well as the well-chosen supporting cast, particularly Peter Wight in the role of Jake's father. As love stories go, which Only You most definitely is, this one is worth seeing and savoring.

From 1091 and running a lengthy but worthwhile two hours, the movie arrives on digital streaming tomorrow, Tuesday, December 3 -- for purchase and/or rental. 

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