Starring: David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah
Director: Raine Allen-Miller
It boggles my mind that Rye Lane is Raine Allen-Wilson’s feature directorial debut. The way her direction turns a fairly simple concept into something that I feel like I’ve never seen before is very impressive. This film is littered with unique framing devices that are both bold and hilarious, not to mention plenty of subtle humor and background jokes that do nothing but make the experience more fun while complimenting the core romance at the center of it all. David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah’s compelling chemistry certainly doesn't hurt either. This one comes highly recommended.
Starting with possibly one of the strangest meet-cutes in recent memory, Rye Lane is a breath of fresh air in a dying genre. David Jonsson and Vivan Oparah's chemistry is palpable, making it easy for the audience to root for them to succeed in the opening scenes. Sonically, the film's soundtrack gives the story a soulful feel that helps to elevate the sharp writing. The natural progression of events, while following the typical rom-com formula, still feel original and inventive, making the story of Dom (Jonsson) and Yas (Oparah) a strong contender for one of the better movies that (almost) takes place in the span of a single day.
Imperfect though it may be, with a shooting style that annoyed me more than it interested me, I nonetheless was won over by the very cute Rye Lane. Its first act is very choppily edited, but once it balances out, it becomes a sort of one-day rom-com filled with fun banter, subtly impressive performances, and genuine heart. The parts of it that don’t work – mainly the lack of dimension around some supporting characters and an ending that feels appropriate but slightly rushed – stick out, but even if I never return to the film, I’d be happy to recommend it.
This film was reviewed by Adriano as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.