(And at risk of getting comically abstract, it should be noted that there are really three plot points that could be interpreted as twists: one about a third of the way through, a reveal of note in the third act, and then one last turn in the final scene which I guess some could read as a surprise. The first one is plot, not twist; the second rather inelegantly hinges on a bunch of information being left on an easily accessible computer; the third is something you see coming about a mile away.)
But is there even a point to such cloak-and-dagger work in the Internet age, when any spoiler-seeker with a Twitter account or a browser pointed at Google can easily discover The One I Love’s big secret? And if distributors RadiUS/TWC were so dedicated to preserving a virgin viewership, why did they buck their normal theatrical-first pattern and release it On Demand three weeks ago?
Simple: because it’s not about the movie, it’s about the marketing. They’re trying to make the film’s mystery its draw, appropriating Hitchcock’s legendary Psycho campaign with their “no one will be admitted once the film has begun” disclaimer — without seeming to realize that Hitch was responding to the all-day continuous screening cycle of the period, which allowed moviegoers to wander in and out willy-nilly. But context doesn’t matter; it’s a gimmick, all of it, sheer salesmanship. And such a cynical approach ultimately does this fine, modest, thoughtful picture a real disservice.
The One I Love is out Friday in limited release. It is currently available on demand.