Movie Review: Rye Lane

Once a Hollywood mainstay, the romantic comedy has now mostly been reduced to the sort of pleasantly hokey, slapdash fare that populates the various Hallmark channels. It’s nice then to see one that, while still largely adhering to formula, tries something new and manages to capture the magic of the best of the genre. Fresh from the Sundance Film Festival, the feature directorial debut of Raine Allen-Miller does exactly that.

At a photography exhibition focused on the insides of human mouths, Yas (Vivian Oparah) notices Dom (David Jonsson) crying in the bathroom. They both run into each other again on the gallery floor and strike up a conversation, in which Dom explains that he is still hurting over a recent break-up, in which he caught his girlfriend cheating with his supposed best friend. They continue to walk and talk together out onto the streets of London and Yas mentions that she recently ended a relationship as well. The pair wind up spending the day together roaming the city, coming to terms with their grief over lost loves, and slowly realizing they might be forming feelings for each other.

Jonsson and Oparah are incredibly likable and have an easy chemistry with each other. Their relationship blossoms convincingly and is always charming to watch. The various colorful characters they encounter on their sojourn add further richness to an already engaging little adventure. The script by Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia hews close enough to formula without feeling derivative and includes sly nods to other romcoms (one surprise cameo in particular will delight fans), while also offering up the snappy banter and zany situations viewers expect. Miller’s direction gives Rye Lane some unique edge, and makes the movie feel fresh and stylish. As much a love letter to life in London as it is to the idea of love itself, this could go down as a new classic of the genre. ★★★★★

rated r for language, some sexual content, and nudity.

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★★★★★ = Excellent | ★★★★ = Very Good | ★★★ = Good | ★★ = Fair | ★ = Poor

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