Though I’ll be sad to say goodbye to Melanie Lynskey May, I’m not sad that our desperate search for readily available ML films (with a heavy dose of artistic license) is over temporarily. Here’s hoping we see her in I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore 2 or at least a few more original films acquired by Netflix.
Hello I Must Be Going
Where to Watch:
Amazon Prime + Sundance
The Uncondensed Version:
This time around, ML is a majorly depressed young woman who hasn’t quite hit rock bottom but is just about there (seems a bit familiar for her, eh, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore?). Her marriage over, her career non-existent, and having given up on everything else, Amy moves back in with parents in her mid-thirties. It’s not a bad setup, except she can’t bring herself to change out of an old, dirty t-shirt or even leave the house, much to the dismay of her parents. She spends a lot of her time looking at pictures sadly and crying to Marx Brothers movies, though her mother is constantly making well-meaning suggestions to improve herself and life.
When Amy’s father has clients to impress, she’s forced to get her act together (at least a little bit). Her parents’ whirlwind tour across the globe depends on these clients, as well as her father’s retirement. No pressure, though.
For the fancy dinner party to impress fancy lawyer types, Amy manages to scrounge up a nice dress and sit through several courses without sobbing openly. After revealing she was a literature and photography student who never finished her Master’s thesis, she gets shit from some of the dinner guests. The only person more uncomfortable through these proceedings is Jeremy, stepson of the man everyone is out to impress. Jeremy lets his mother believe he’s gay and loves acting because it makes her feel better and in control.
After Amy has had enough of this bullshit dinner party, she shares a romantic moment with Jeremy even though he’s a tender 19 years old. He’s very perceptive and emotionally mature for a 19-year-old to an almost unbelievable degree, but IDGAF. I WANT TO BELIEVE.
Their relationship moves quickly both physically and emotionally, with Amy sharing painful details about her husband’s affair and the divorce (which blindsided her), and Jeremy revealing his fears about being honest about what he wants with his parents.
Even though they are both adults, Amy is embarrassed about their age difference and fears an open relationship could cost her father his clients and retirement. They keep the relationship secret…until Jeremy’s mother walks in on them planning a fantasy trip to Canada and skinny dipping. Fortunately, delusions are a powerful thing and, convinced her son is gay, Jeremy’s mother completely denies the possibility of any romantic involvement between the two.
The encounter is enough to leave Amy rattled, though, and she decides to end her non-relationship with Jeremy. She agrees to go on a date her sister-in-law has set up, but quickly realizes she isn’t remotely interested in pursuing things further. Though Amy misses Jeremy, she tries to find him and once again remembers their age difference. After a ladies’ night out drinking, she literally does hit rock bottom and gets into a screaming fight with her mother.
Realizing her mother is in many ways just as lost and disappointed as Amy, there seems to be a breakthrough. But will it make a difference in her relationship with her family, her non-boyfriend, and most importantly, herself?
4/5 Pink Panther Heads
It starts out as a bit of a slow burner, but becomes a thoughtful reflection on family relationships, perception of others, and self-love. Though Amy feels like a fuck-up who has quit everything she’s ever tried, she begins to put things in perspective by listening to the fears and disappointments of others. She learns to accept responsibility for her life while moving on from blaming herself for all of her mistakes. It’s great to see her grow as a character, know herself better, and love who she is. Amy and Jeremy begin to grow up together and have a very sweet, believable connection.
ML is great in this, as is Blythe Danner, and pretty much everyone else. I think ML has the most to work with, as she’s a multi-dimensional, relateable, and flawed character. Her struggle to rise above all the bullshit, feel normal, and rediscover purpose in her life is so real.