The One I Love (film)

The One I Love is a 2014 American Thriller film directed by Charlie McDowell and written by Justin Lader, the film stars Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss. The film had its world premiere at 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2014.[2] It was released on August 1, 2014 through video on demand prior to a limited release on August 22, 2014, by RADiUS-TWC.[3]

The One I Love
TOIL poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCharlie McDowell
Produced byMel Eslyn
Written byJustin Lader
Music by
  • Danny Bensi
  • Saunder Jurriaans
CinematographyDoug Emmett
Edited byJennifer Lilly
Distributed byRADiUS-TWC
Release date
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$583,264[1]


Confronted with the potential end of their marriage, Ethan (Mark Duplass) and Sophie (Elisabeth Moss) are seeing a therapist (Ted Danson) regularly. After asking them to each play a note on a piano, he identifies a disconnection in their relationship and suggests they take a weekend retreat to a large, secluded estate. The couple decides to try anything to save their marriage and agree to go.

Once at the estate, Ethan and Sophie make themselves comfortable, smoking some marijuana to relax. Sophie goes to the guest cottage and, while there, has sex with Ethan. Sophie returns to the house to find Ethan asleep. When she mentions the sex they just had, Ethan claims he cannot remember the event, so Sophie, annoyed that Ethan could ruin an otherwise romantic evening with a poor joke, goes to bed alone. Ethan, instead, curls up in the guest cottage. During the night, Sophie joins him in remorse, apologizing for her behavior and falling asleep next to him. The next morning, she makes him eggs and bacon for breakfast. Ethan makes note how odd it is that Sophie is cooking bacon for him, as she notedly hates the smell of bacon and would always refuse to cook it.

Ethan, suspicious, returns to the main house where Sophie has no memory of joining him in the guest cottage, nor of relenting on her distaste of bacon. Ethan quickly deduces that something unusual is going on: when in the guest house cottage, each of them met a doppelgänger of the other, one who was convincing enough to pass without suspicion. By visiting with Sophie II (Moss), Ethan is able to establish that their doppelgängers cannot or will not leave the guest cottage; by barging in on Sophie's session with Ethan II (Duplass), he determines that the doppelgängers disappear when both (original) spouses are in the guest cottage together and that the doubles are idealized versions of the spouses they imitate. Ethan and Sophie agree to take advantage of these strange circumstances, though Ethan sets ground rules, including a rule of "no intimacy" and spend only fifteen minutes at a time with them.

Ethan accumulates evidence that there is a mundane explanation for what's going on: some of his clothing is missing, and he receives several voice mails from friends and family, answering calls, made in his voice, asking about details of his past. Sophie, meanwhile, asks Ethan II why he cheated on her in the first place. Ethan II says that it was a moment of weakness, and promises to make it right. Sophie has started to develop feelings for Ethan II and goes to the guest cottage to seduce him. Ethan discovers this by quick sleight of hand: claiming to take the car to the store, he instead enters the guest house and assumes the place of his doppelgänger. Sophie seduces the original Ethan, unbeknownst to her.

The next morning, Sophie once again seeks refuge with Ethan II, and Ethan I deliberately disturbs them by entering the guest cottage. As they argue, they find Sophie II and Ethan II awaiting them in the main house. The four spend a bizarre social evening together, and it becomes clear that Ethan II and Sophie II know they are playing a role. Ethan II also reveals Ethan I's duplicity at the guest cottage, at which point Sophie I asks Ethan I to leave. He goes to the guest cottage to investigate, and finds a computer with files for different couples that include sound recordings of voices, and locates a file labeled 'Sophie & Ethan' (presumably Ethan II and Sophie II), learning to imitate him and Sophie I.

Ethan I finds he's trapped in the guest house, but Sophie II lets him out. She explains that the residing couple (Ethan II and Sophie II) must drive a wedge between the visiting couple, causing the visiting couple to fall out of love. Only then can the residing couple leave, with the visiting couple then trapped within the estate until new visitors arrive. But unexpectedly, Ethan II has fallen in love with Sophie I and is planning to leave with her. However, Sophie II would rather conspire against him than see her husband leave with another woman. Ethan I goes to explain this to Sophie I, but Ethan II discovers their clandestine meeting. The Ethans wrestle, then Ethan II attempts to convince Sophie I to flee with him. When she refuses, Ethan II decides to run away on his own. But he hits an invisible barrier and collapses to the ground unconscious from the impact. Each Sophie has an opposing reaction to the incident, one seemingly distressed for Ethan II lying on the ground and the other slowly smiling at Ethan I as she waits for his next move. Ethan I grabs the smiling Sophie and makes a run for the car. The Sophie left behind is last seen left by the side of the road, kneeling over Ethan II who is still unconscious and whose prognosis is unclear. She looks up only a short while with a blank stare to watch Ethan and Sophie drive away from the estate.

Ethan and Sophie drive straight to the therapist's office demanding answers, but find it abandoned with only a piano in the centre of the room. The two call it a day, seemingly deciding to wash their hands of everything that has happened, and head home. The following day, Ethan and Sophie are home in bed. After some playful banter, he asks what she plans on making for breakfast. Calling back from downstairs, Sophie casually replies eggs and bacon. Ethan takes a moment to consider the meaning of Sophie cooking bacon. Ethan appears to come to some peace with his own conclusion and he heads downstairs to join her for breakfast.



In March 2013, it was revealed that Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass, and Ted Danson had been cast in the film, with Mel Eslyn producing and Duplass executive producing.[4] Mary Steenburgen provided the voice of Duplass's character's mother.[5] Rooney Mara, McDowell's girlfriend, served as the costume designer, but received credit as Bree Daniel.[6]


Principal photography lasted 15 days, at Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson's house.[5][7]


The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival on January 21, 2014.[8] Shortly after, RADiUS-TWC acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film.[9] The film went onto screen at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 25, 2014.[10] That same month, RADiUS set the film for an August 15, 2014 release.[11] It was released on video on demand on August 1, 2014, prior to a limited release on August 22, 2014.[12]

Home mediaEdit

The film was released to Blu-Ray and DVD by Anchor Bay Entertainment on November 4, 2014.[13] It was then released on Netflix on November 29, 2014, and has since been made available to stream on Netflix.[14]


Box officeEdit

The One I Love opened in a limited release in the United States in 8 theaters and grossed $48,059 with an average of $6,007 per theater and ranking #42 at the box office. The film's widest release was 82 theaters and it ended up earning $513,447 domestically and $69,817 internationally for a total of $583,264.[1] The film made an additional $500,000 through video on demand sales.[15]

Critical responseEdit

The One I Love received mostly positive reviews from critics and has a "certified fresh" score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 79 reviews with an average rating of 6.9 out of 10. The critical consensus states "The One I Love doesn't take its intriguing premise quite as far as it could, but it still adds up to an ambitious, well-acted look at love and marriage."[16] The film also has a score of 65 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 27 critics indicating "Generally favorable reviews."[17]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times, praises Moss's performance writing, "In “The One I Love,” she creates a complex portrait of a woman tested by love whose smiles work like a barricade until fissures of feeling break down her last defenses."[18]

Geoffrey Berkshire of Variety, said in his review that "Charlie McDowell makes an incredibly assured directorial debut with this smart crowd-pleaser, featuring spectacular performances from Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss."[19] Kate Erbland of praised the film by saying that "(it's) A tightly constructed and cleverly designed take on the modern love story."[20] Cory Everett of Indiewire grade the film B by saying that "It's a very small-scale, unassuming relationship movie (with a heady little twist), but it sneaks up on you."[21]

However, John DeFore in his review for The Hollywood Reporter criticized the film that "On a moment-to-moment basis, this smoothly made film can be incredibly trying, even annoying, to watch, due to the grueling repetitiveness of the scenes and dialogue and the claustrophobia of the paradoxically beautiful setting."[22]

Awards and NominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2014 Newport Film Festival Outstanding Achievement in Acting Elisabeth Moss Won
2014 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Special Citation Charlie McDowell Won
2015 Film Independent's Spirit Awards Best First Screenplay Justin Lader Nominated
2015 Saturn Award Best Independent Film Charlie McDowell
Mel Eslyn


  1. ^ a b "The One I Love". Box Office Mojo.
  2. ^ "Sundance 2014: World Cinema Dramatic Competition". Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  3. ^ Chitwood, Adam (July 17, 2014). "THE ONE I LOVE Trailer Avoids Spoiling the Unconventional Comedy Starring Elisabeth Moss and Mark Duplass". Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  4. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (March 6, 2013). "Elisabeth Moss, Mark Duplass And Ted Danson Set For Indie 'The One I Love'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  5. ^ a b "THE ENCHANTED COTTAGE FROM "THE ONE I LOVE"". February 16, 2015. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Puchko, Kristy. "Rooney Mara's Secret Role In The One I Love Revealed". Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  7. ^ Ramsetti (August 19, 2014). "Elisabeth Moss' indie dramedy 'The One I Love' has surreal twist, yet offers insights on real-world relationships". Kirthana. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  8. ^ "Sundance 2014: You're not supposed to know anything about 'The One I Love'". Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  9. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (January 23, 2014). "Sundance: Radius-TWC Acquires 'The One I Love'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  10. ^ "The One I Love". Tribeca Film Festival. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  11. ^ Team, The Deadline (April 19, 2014). "Radius/TWC Sets Elisabeth Moss-Mark Duplass Pic 'The One I Love' For August". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  12. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (July 19, 2014). "Hot Trailer: Elisabeth Moss & Mark Duplass Get Trippy In 'The One I Love'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  13. ^ Leyland, Nick (September 23, 2014). "THE ONE I LOVE: Starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss / On DVD and Blu-Ray November 4, 2014!". Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  14. ^ Dornbush, Jonathon (October 29, 2014). "'Snowpiercer,' 'The One I Love,' 'Nebraska,' more arrive on Netflix in November". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 4, 2016.
  15. ^ Brooks, Brian (August 24, 2014). "Radius-TWC Surprises With 'The One I Love,' Providing Theatrical, VOD Box Office". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  16. ^ "The One I Love (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved September 4, 2014.
  17. ^ Metacritic
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Sundance Film Review: 'The One I Love'". Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  20. ^ "Sundance Review: 'The One I Love'". Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  21. ^ "Sundance Review: 'The One I Love' Starring Elizabeth Moss & Mark Duplass". Retrieved May 5, 2014.
  22. ^ "The One I Love: Sundance Review". Retrieved May 5, 2014.

External linksEdit