Rom coms are a consistent addition to the movie release calendar and it’s easy to see why. They appeal to a large demographic, they are less expensive to shoot, and the genre tropes are essentially built for retelling. More often than not however, romantic comedies or dramedies tend to over rely on the genre tropes, and they frequently force sentimentality. Rye Lane is a romantic comedy now streaming on Hulu and it does skirt around the familiar beats of the genre, yet it’s infused with such an authentic wittiness that the result is a refreshing story of modern romance that will easily consume your heart and have you feeling all the love.
What stands out most is the tightly written script that is able to navigate all the sadness and exhilaration of love as well as the humiliation and pain of a broken heart with lighthearted optimism. Humor is the best medicine for those gloomy days, and you never know when love will walk into your life and how this film is able to explore this notion is engaging. It can tug on your heartstrings while also making you laugh out loud because the situations, the scenarios, and these characters are easily relatable. Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah) are just normal people with flaws, insecurities, and vulnerabilities, and this makes them naturally likable.
Dom and Yas being so sincere is what makes you invest in their story and want to know more about them. It also generates that hope they will find love in the end, so for a rom com Rye Lane is able to check all the boxes you want, while not checking the ones you don’t. This one isn’t overly cheesy; it doesn’t force emotional beats or take itself too seriously. The writing keeps the tone grounded, it keeps the sense of humor in place, and it gives this charming little movie a great balance of heartwarming emotion to swirl around in to get the feels.
The performances from Jonsson and Oparah are also exactly what this movie needed. They are cute together. They have a great chemistry, and both are able to navigate the flaws in these characters to humanize them. You get to know them and with this script laying out added layers of their past as the story progresses there is consistent intrigue. Something aided by the film’s tidy run-time at just under 90-minutes. Rye Lane keeps its story moving forward and it doesn’t stick around longer than needed so there are no sappy emotions, and no fatigue.
Rye Lane did come with some drawbacks for me. Particularly with some of the choices in the direction and cinematography techniques. The framing is traditional for the most part. There is an emphasis on close-up shots which may have been intended to create some sort of intimacy but to me it made certain scenes feel stuffy. There was also a frequent change to a fisheye perspective. This admittedly gave a few sequences a nice layer of added depth, but more often than not, this aspect change felt jarring and in the end, unneeded.
But as a whole Rye Lane is a great time and will make you feel good inside and rooting for love. It’s stylish. It’s vibrant. It’s clever. This one has appeal for fans of rom coms and for those who may pass on the genre because of expected cheesiness. Rye Lane keeps its emotions grounded to keep you locked in from start-to-finish.
Anthony J. Digioia II © 2023 SilverScreen Analysis. All Rights Reserved.