This review was originally published on January 28, 2012…
Hello I Must Be Going detailed one of my deepest fears. At 35, beautiful, talented, funny, smart (you’re seeing how I could relate, right?) Amy Minsky (Melanie Lynskey) is getting a divorce and has to move in with her parents. Obviously Amy has a hard time accepting her new lifestyle sans husband. She mopes around the house in a dirty, baggy t-shirt, lamenting her existence and crying over Marx Brothers films. Soon, her father begs her to get her act together so he can entertain a retiring colleague in order to acquire his clients. Amy expects to suffer through the dinner party, but, instead, meets Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), the 19-year-old aspiring actor that will help her rise above her midlife slump.
The age difference between Amy and Jeremy could have come across as creepy, but Lynskey and Abbott have real chemistry that make the coupling feel not only appropriate, but also inevitable. Despite the fact that Jeremy has probably never been to a library with a card catalogue, does not remember a time before instant messages, and has never seen an episode of Three’s Company, Abbott plays his character with a level of maturity that the older men in the film lack. His smile lights up the screen as he teaches Amy how a real man behaves.
And Melanie Lynskey! Since her starring role in the fabulous Heavenly Creatures, through last year’s solid Win Win, she has consistently made the films she is in more interesting. Her performance in Hello I Must Be Going is no exception. I admit I’m a fan, and my fandom here is completely justified. This film showcases her ability to approach delicate characters with underlying strength.
Director Todd Louiso (who you might recognize as Dick from High Fidelity) takes what could have been a slightly disturbing, cliché indie film and creates a very loveable, optimistic story. He couldn’t have done it without Sarah Koskoff’s script, developed through the Sundance Institute. Each of the characters she creates in this film is highly relatable, and even the explosive fights and heartfelt epiphanies are realistic – a difficult feat any screenwriter fears.
As Amy and Jeremy navigate their unconventional relationship, we know they don’t have much of a chance, but we still root for them. While Hello I Must Be Going might not offer any life changing moral lessons, it is a glimpse into family life and relationships that any film lover can appreciate.