Hello I Must Be Going is almost romantic, but ultimately lifeless

Melanie Lynsky in "Hello I Must Be Going"

For better or worse, ‘Hello I Must Be Going’ checks off every single box in the “indie romantic drama/comedy” checklist.


In a world of problems, who has more than disaffected divorcees in their 30’s? None, that’s who! Real life is hard, everyone. And love is complicated. Haven’t you heard?

In Hello I Must Be Going, we meet Amy (Melanie Lynskey from Two and a Half Men), who recently got divorced from an extremely successful entertainment lawyer in the city (Manhattan, but it doesn’t really matter) and is now forced to live with her parents. Why doesn’t she have a place of her own? Because she dropped out of grad school and apparently has no skills or the capacity to find work, and as the divorce papers aren’t final, she has no alimony — and doesn’t seem to want it either. Because she’s independent? I don’t know, that part doesn’t really make sense. Her parents, successful wealthy lawyer Stan (John Rubinstein) and condescending, shrillish mother Ruth (Blythe Danner) are worried about her. And also about this upcoming deal — Stan needs it or he can’t retire, and they can’t go on a trip around the world.

So they have a dinner party with the family of the potential client, including hippieish wife Gwen (Julie White) and pensive actor Jeremy (Christopher Abbott from Girls). Don’t forget about Amy’s awful brother and kind sister-in-law, although the movie will soon enough! The important thing is that the 35-year-old Amy has an instant connection with 19-year-old Jeremy, because of passion and chemistry, basically. He seems to respect her, unlike most people she knows (especially her mother and ex-husband). And Amy is attracted to both how she feels with him and also him, to a lesser extent. In the end, it’s all about her.

This is such a typical movie of its type, from the sad, pensive score to the lingering shots of no dialogue to the paper thin characterizations of anyone other than the two main characters. Melanie Lynskey does a good job here, but it seems like she could’ve been given a far better script. Christopher Abbott is fine, playing it low key, filled with quiet rage and despair, but mostly blase about life working out in the end. The supporting cast is all okay too, nothing especially bad or good, and Blythe Danner does the best she can to add depth to a character without any on the page. The moral of the story seems to be that you shouldn’t let people around you make you feel bad or force you down a path that makes you miserable. Fair enough, but it’s a lot easier when you have safety nets to fall back on — there is the faintest hint of austerity worries here, but it’s buried beneath the drawn out romance.

It’s a movie that thinks it’s very original: “Oh, what if an adult was forced to live with her parents!” And that’s fine, except that the movie moves away from the humor of the situation and gets predictable and really quite stale.

Photo Credit: Oscilloscope Pictures

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