Hello I Must Be Going

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Fear, anxiety and depression: Amy Minsky (Lynskey) is feeling all of those things at the start of Todd Louiso’s Sundance-pandering dramedy, and who can blame her? This gloomy thirtysomething has been living with her parents (Danner and Rubinstein) since her husband unceremoniously dumped her three months earlier. Amy’s so doleful that she cries at Marx Brothers movies. (The film’s title comes from Groucho’s playful song in Animal Crackers.) But then she meets 19-year-old Jeremy (Girls’ Abbott), the showbiz son of one of her father’s prospective clients, who teaches her how to love again through a mesmeric mix of compassion and carnal knowledge.

Lynskey has raised the quality of innumerable feature films (as a soft-spoken New Republic reporter in Shattered Glass; a housewife on the verge of a nervous breakdown in Away We Go—that film’s sole saving grace). So it’s a delight to see this stalwart character actor move to center stage, even when the result is so by-the-numbers. Save Abbott, who has a delightfully sweet, soulful chemistry with his costar, the supporting actors err on the side of broad caricature, while Sarah Koskoff’s script is all stock epiphanies about getting your life in order and following your dreams. But even with this problematic template, Lynskey’s choices are always unpredictable and perceptive: Listen to the way she turns even a sitcom moment of frustration—chanting “fuck fuck fuck” to herself after an embarrassing revelation—into a jazzy, pathos-laden aria. You wish this innocuous wisp of a film would rise to her level.

Follow Keith Uhlich on Twitter: @keithuhlich

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