Rye Lane (2023) ☆☆☆1/2(3.5/4): This eventful day of theirs

Raine Allen-Miller’s debut feature film “Rye Lane”, which is currently available on Disney+ in South Korea, is simply delightful from the beginning to the end. Yes, this is basically your typical “Boy-Meets-Girl” story on the surface, but the movie distinguishes itself to a considerable degree with lots of wit and style as well as an ample amount of life and personality, and you may want to revisit it just for savoring those funny and charming moments surrounding the two different main characters at its center.

Right from the opening scene showing many different bathrooms one by one, you can instantly sense something special about the movie, and it does not disappointment us at all with the following Meet Cute moment between Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah). Dom is helplessly crying alone inside one of the booths of a gender-neutral bathroom at an art exhibition held in South London because he is still not recovering from his recent breakup with his ex-girlfriend, and then he finds himself in a more awkward situation when Yas happens to enter the bathroom. By coincidence, they later come across with each other again at the art exhibition, and then they are officially introduced to each other via their mutual acquaintance.

Although they are total strangers to each other, Yas and Dom gradually come to feel some mutual attraction between them, and, what do you know, they subsequently find themselves talking more with each other as walking around here and there in South London. Dom has been quite anxious and depressed because he is about to have a meeting with his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend who happens to be his best friend, and he confides to Yas about how he has been miserably letting himself stuck in his parents’ house without thinking much about what will be next for him. Feeling sorry for Dom because she also recently had a breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Yas decides to accompany him more than she thought at first. She willingly sits right next to him when he eventually faces his ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend, and she even chooses to ignore an unexpected job opportunity just for talking more with him.

As Dom and Yas come to open themselves more to each other, the movie deftly establishes the vivid and colorful atmosphere around them. Allen-Miller and her cinematographer Olan Collardy frequently use extreme wide-angle lenses for emphasizing the heightened emotional status of Yas and Dom, and they also skillfully utilizes many distinctive locations in South London including Rye Lane Market, which are filled with vibrant colors and various persons to be observed (You will be surprised by the unexpected cameo appearance of a certain prominent British actor during one key scene – and how he manages not to overshadow the two lead performers of the film).

In addition, the movie gleefully wields its naughty sense of humor with lots of style and heart. We are amused by a series of cheerfully stylish flashback scenes which give more information about Yas and Dom’s respective problematic relationships, and you will also never forget that art exhibition which has the big photographs of many different human mouths. I do not know whether they are actually art or now, but they are strikingly silly and impressive in my trivial opinion.

The screenplay by Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia steadily keeps things rolling as its two main characters bounce from one narrative point to another. During its middle act, Dom and Yas find themselves in the house of her ex-boyfriend’s parents for a little hidden purpose, and the situation becomes all the more absurd when they later break into her ex-boyfriend’s residence.

Of course, there eventually comes a big moment of conflict between our two main characters, and that is naturally followed by a typical montage part showing the passage of time, but the movie is too smart and intelligent to succumb to its genre conventions. Sure, Yas and Dom come to realize that they really like each other more than they admit (Is this a spoiler, folks?), and they do not hesitate at all when one of them actively and humorously approaches to each other for confirming their love.

Like any other romantic comedy films, the movie depends a lot on the presence and talent of its two lead performers, and they effortlessly click with each other throughout the film while filling their roles with lots of human details to engage and touch us. Dexterously gliding along many different emotional modes, David Jonsson is alternatively funny and poignant in his witty performance, and Vivian Oparah flawlessly complements him with her equally engaging acting, and their comic/romantic chemistry is evident particularly when their characters face Dom’s ex-girlfriend and her current boyfriend – or when their characters come to do an impromptu musical performance later in the story. The movie also assembles a bunch of various supporting performers around Jonsson and Oparah, and they certainly bring some extra human colorfulness to the film.

In conclusion, “Rye Lane” is seemingly modest but quite refreshing for transcending its familiar gerne conventions in more than one way, and Allen-Miller, who previously made several short films before making a feature film debut here, surely demonstrates that she is another promising new talent to watch. In short, this is a small gem too good to miss, and I sincerely recommend you to check it out as soon as possible.

This entry was posted in Movies and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.