The film does not deviate from a typical rom-com plotline, but even worse is that the film fails to properly execute its intentions.
Hello I Must Be Going
Ten years after premiering Love Liza at the Sundance Film Festival, Todd Louiso returns to the festival with his latest film, Hello I Must Be Going. The synopsis of the film fits right in line with what the festival welcomes; a tale of a mid-thirties woman who is at rock bottom trying to find herself in life. Unfortunately the title of the film speaks for itself, because the film offers little redeeming value, it could be can be abandoned at the opening introduction.
Following a divorce that left her without many possessions, Amy (Melanie Lynskey) has been living with her well-off parents in their extravagant Connecticut home for the past three months. There is no doubt that Amy is heartbroken over her failed marriage, she rarely gets out of the house. Amy is in her mid-thirties and has two graduate degrees, but has not had the opportunity to use either of them yet. But her lack of ambition might come from the fact that her parents are willing to support her, giving her plenty of time yet little incentive to find work on her own.
Her parents Ruth (Blythe Danner) and Stan Minsky (John Rubinstein) have their own economic dilemma when shares of their investments are lost due to the financial crash. The problem is that it is hard to empathize for them too greatly because this just means that her father is unable to retire sooner and her mother’s plan to travel the world is delayed. They are far from struggling financially, but having to support their hapless daughter makes the potential client they are trying to get business from all that important.
Amy is pressured to clean up her image for the dinner party they are hosting for the big client as if she was a child. Furthermore, during the dinner her parents do most of the talking for her as they know she is incapable of impressing the guests herself. Meanwhile, across from her is the client’s 19 year-old son Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), who is getting the same treatment. The two instantly begin to flirt and before too long it escalades into a greater affair. This might be the exact thing Amy needs right now in her life, but it comes with the expense of possibly ruining her father’s chance at getting the client.
The biggest offender in Hello I Must Be Going is that the film never gives the audience a compelling reason to care for anything that transpires. The bulk of the film tends to be rich people complaining over spilled milk, while at the same time, they are so self-absorbed that they do not care about anyone else’s well-being. Yet somehow the audience is supposed to.
The other frequent wrongdoer is that the film explains what occurs rather than showing it. A good example of this is when Amy tells Jeremy that he taught her how to be loved. Other than being a genuinely nice guy who was not completely selfish, an admittedly rare feat in this film, there is nothing too out of the ordinary that we see Jeremy do for her. Because Amy is surrounded with people that give her no attention, when someone actually does, she somehow considers it a “lesson”.
That all being said, the root of all these problems likely stem from a poor script. At first it was difficult to discern if the blame should be put on Melanie Lynskey’s performance or simply the character she portrayed. But by the second act it was obvious that the blame could be placed her unbecoming character. Even the solid performance from Christopher Abbott was greatly reduced by the dreadful dialog from the script.
Hello I Must Be Going is a romantic comedy that yields little laughs and the romantic situations that arise feel downright contrived. The film does not deviate from a typical rom-com plotline, but even worse is that the film fails to properly execute its intentions. Rather than showing the lead character finding her path of self-discovery, the film must rely on you taking its word for it. If you were going to watch one indie rom-com from Sundance that centers on a thirtysomething divorcee, I suggest skipping this one in favor for Celeste and Jesse Forever.