Hello I Must Be Going

 

Hello I Must Be Going

Written by Sarah Koskoff

Photography by Julie Kirkwood

Edited by Tom McArdle

Music by Laura Viers

Production Design by Russell Barnes

Casting by Kerry Barden & Paul Schnee

Produced by Hans Ritter & Mary Jane Skalski

Directed by Todd Louiso

Sundance Festival release: January 2012

 

Rated: R

 

Featuring:

Melanie Lynskey

Christopher Abbott

Blythe Danner

John Rubinstein

Julie White

 

Production Studio:

Theatrical: Next Weekend/Skyscraper Production

Video: Oscilloscope Laboratories

 

Video

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 480i

Codec: MPEG-2

Disc Size: DVD-9

Bit Rate: Moderate (ca. 7.5 Mbps)

Runtime: 95 minutes

Region: All

 

Audio:

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Subtitles:

Optional English

 

Bonus Features: 

• Interview with Director Todd Louiso & Screenwriter Sarah Koskoff (11:24)

• Interview with Actress Melanie Lynskey & Journalist David Poland (8:27)

• Oscilloscope Trailers

 

Presentation:

Oscilloscope Custom Paper Gatefold Case: DVD

Street Date: January 29, 2013



Critical Press

Variety

"Hello I Must Be Going" opens with newly divorced Amy back in her parents' house and ends with her departure, suggesting that being temporarily remanded to the nest would be a humiliating ordeal for any relatively independent thirtysomething -- and it might, had writer Sarah Koskoff and director Todd Louiso given some indication of the passionate life Amy might otherwise be leading on her own. Instead, they deliver a slight, solipsistic portrait of emotional recovery starring likable and woefully underused character actress Melanie Lynskey (half-missing her big moment), helped along by some frisky sex with a teenage family friend.

 

But what does this naive teenage suitor see in her? For that matter, how does Amy see herself? As the film unfolds, details about her past suggest an artistic career abandoned by the demands of a lopsided marriage. But Lynskey -- not quite up to the challenge of carrying a picture -- keeps things vague, shifting the focus from what defines Amy to the larger absurdity of having to return home, where she's treated like a child and forced to sneak out with Jeremy behind her parents' backs.

 

True to form, ["Hello"] eschews a more studio-friendly plot in favor of a ragged character's rocky path to self-discovery and climaxes with a hilariously unexpected feel-good catharsis. . . Even the look seems to be at odds with the material, as Julie Kirkwood's warm-glow cinematography stands in open defiance of Amy's gloomy outlook. As a director, Louiso operates within a narrow emotional range. . . the film feels similarly monotonous and desperately needs more dramatic fluctuation. Even Laura Veirs' music, beautiful in its own right, reinforces a tone too mellow for its own good. – Peter Debruge


               

 

Hollywood Reporter

A credibly drawn central character is trapped inside a half-cooked dramatic stew in Hello I Must Be Going. Melanie Lynskey, who has mostly worked in television since co-starring with Kate Winslet as teenage killers in Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures in 1994, creates a convincing portrait of a rather ordinary looking woman in her mid-30s at loose ends after being dumped by a husband she loved. Despite the fact that the woman is jolted back to consciousness by an affair with a 19-year-old guy, the film’s impact is exceedingly mild, making it a doubtful prospect to stir much excitement at festivals or in the marketplace.

 

Lynskey does a fine, self-effacing job maintaining audience interest in a woman who, frankly, is sort of a blob and whose inner life resembles an empty cupboard.  An intense young man with a few things to learn, Jeremy isn’t a terribly inviting character either, and there’s no comic-relief character as there often is in films like this -- other, that is, than Groucho Marx, to whom Amy turns for distraction from her dull existence and who, in a clip from “Animal Crackers,” sings the lyrics to the wonderful song that gives the present film its title. – Todd McCarthy


               

 

Salon

If Louiso’s name rings a dim and distant bell in your mind, it may be because of his quasi-legendary supporting performance as a know-it-all record-store clerk in Stephen Frears’ “High Fidelity,” lo, these many years ago. He’s now primarily a director, and on the evidence quite a skilled one. The problem with “Hello I Must Be Going” is that Sarah Koskoff’s screenplay starts out so modestly: You think it’s just going to be a female early-midlife-crisis movie, or an older-woman/younger-guy love story, and, heck, it is both of those things. But to my taste, as the movie goes along it becomes much richer and funnier than that summary suggests, painting a satirical but sympathetic portrait of upper-crust family life in Westport, Conn., a rather toff and beachy New York suburb.

 

New Zealand actress Melanie Lynskey is terrific as a depressed, 30-something recent divorcee named Amy, who has moved back in with her Westport parents, who simultaneously support and undermine her in all the wrong ways. Her hypercritical mom is Blythe Danner and her willfully blind high-end lawyer dad is John Rubinstein, and each of them is worth the price of admission by themselves. Amy’s life of watching TV and eating cookies is upended by the handsome and thoughtful Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), a fast-rising young actor known for his recent largely-nude performance in a play about Robert Mapplethorpe. Everyone around Jeremy, especially his therapist mom (the hilarious Julie White) assumes he’s gay, but once he’s one-on-one with Amy, that proves to be untrue. Jeremy is arguably much more mature and together than Amy is, but the fact remains that he’s also 19 years old. - Andrew O’Hehir


               

 

LensViews: 6

Sarah Koskoff has a clever title going for her, borrowed from a short song of sorts sung, after a fashion, by Groucho Marx in the 1930 movie Animal Crackers, The song is Groucho’s adieu to his leading lady, the deliciously proper Margaret Dumont.  We watch the film clip over the shoulder of the protagonist as she, somewhat mindlessly, watches the movie on the tele.  The Marx Bros are a nostalgic cue for her, as we learn when her father briefly joins her.  What positive feelings this ménage ought to evoke for me is undone by the fact that they are watching the movie in the wrong aspect ratio.  Are we to understand that Lynskey’s character, Amy, is so passive she doesn’t even realize that the movie is not rendered correctly.  In another movie I might have thought the effect was intentional, but I don’t think it is – it’s just carelessness on the part of the director, just as Groucho’s character, Captain Spaulding, is not making a statement that Amy wants to make, or ever does make.  The scene and the title are just clever ruses for their own sake.  We, the audience, can feel the filmmakers winking, but what is really at work here is a seductive sleight of hand.  My objection is that they have spoiled it for another writer/director who might actually be able to make smart use of a title that simply reeks of possibility.

 

The first 15-20 minutes of the movie don’t help much. There is the all too usual banter between family members and friends that feel so warmed over it borders on rotten. There’s an uncomfortable scene in a dress shop where Melanie tries on a top in the middle of the store by pulling it over her existing and very sweaty one.  This and the one following, where she falls into a faint in the driveway, do not endear me to either her character or the movie.  But when all that is over with, and once she meets her young man, there is an ingratiating sense of purpose that pulls us in.


               

 

Image: 8

Nothing wrong with the transfer here – there never is with Oscilloscope, who have a reputation for not mucking about with the source file.  Picture quality is filmlike, a bit soft, with natural light and colors.

 

Audio & Music: 6/6

The uncharacteristically low score for an Oscilloscope release isn’t their fault but the movie’s sound mixer who raised the level on a song (I forgot which) inappropriately.  The scene has no dialogue so there is no need to flood the sense with what is, after all, a routine piece of music.  The low score for the music is for the frequent use of the folk song “The Fox”.  Great song, great lyric, but what is it doing here?


               

 

Extras: 5

I’m not convinced that Hello I Must Be Going calls out for much more than it gets in the way of extras, so the score reflects a relative lack rather than a useful lack.  There are two nice interviews in anamorphic wide screen, as is the movie, and good color and contrast: The principals - Director Todd Louiso & Screenwriter Sarah Koskoff and lead actress Melanie Lynskey account for themselves and their movie.

 

Recommendation: 6

Hello I Must Be Going is a perfectly harmless piece of movie making.  Its goals are not lofty, the comedy is not outrageous, the drama is not intense.  But it passes the time, once the opening few scenes are dispensed with, without offending.  Meanwhile the two leads (Melanie Lynskey and Christopher Abbott) and the young man’s psychobabbling mother (Julie White) make for some affecting light melodrama.  I absolutely do not understand the R Rating: there is no violence, no frontal nudity, the sex scenes are so much undercover that they almost don’t qualify, and the frequency and quality of foul language – it’s The King’s Speech all over again. Well, not really.

 


Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

February 2, 2013


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