Review by Jonathan Berk
Break-ups are hard, but writing a movie with characters going through a breakup is often harder. Sure, many writers and directors attempt to make these rom-coms, but they don’t always work. Writers Nathan Bryon & Tom Melia with director Raine Allen-Miller — making her feature debut — have given us Rye Lane, and it's definitely one of the more successful stories.
David Jonsson plays Dom, who is struggling to get over a breakup. He’s out at a friend’s art showing, but is having a bit of a cry in the uni-sex bathroom. Vivian Oparah plays Yas, who overhears Dom’s breakdown and takes a peek at his shoes. She seeks him out once he collects himself and returns to the showing. Dom doesn’t know that Yas was the woman in the bathroom, but the two both have problems with their exes. They spend the day connecting over their mutual losses as they traverse South London.
Jonsson and Oparah are magnificent and have tremendous chemistry. They are adorable throughout, and their character quirks are enjoyable. It’s a classic yin and yang situation, where they complement each other and in return bring the best out of the other. The scene where this becomes truly apparent is when Dom meets his ex and her new boyfriend at a Brazilian restaurant. He turns down Yas’s offer to join him, but she shows up not too long after things are looking quite bad. Her arrival leads to some great laughs and a cathartic moment for anyone who ever wanted to get back at an ex.
Allen-Miller establishes some interesting visual elements with her debut film. The overall look of the film is stylish and full of vibrant colors. However, some choices in lenses made for distorted visuals that were sometimes disorienting. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it didn’t seem to offer any specific thematic touches either. Despite that, the overall look of the film made for compositions that matched the film's energy and comedic tone. It really pays off during the karaoke sequence. The lighting of the club and the use of music in that moment demonstrate all the pieces of this movie working perfectly together.
Good rom-coms need to feature genuine comedy and romance. Rye Lane delivers both in a pretty package that will satisfy the itch of those longings for the old days when rom-coms got big releases. This film is a great showcase of the talent of all parties involved. There are so many things to appreciate about the film, and fans of the genre will not be disappointed.
Rye Lane will be available to watch on Hulu beginning March 31.