Directed by: Raine Allen-Miller
Distributed by: Searchlight Pictures
Written by Maria Athayde
“Rye Lane,” the feature directorial debut from Raine Allen-Miller, is a joy to watch from start to finish. Though it begins with a teary chance encounter in a bar bathroom it evolves into something much deeper as the story progresses. “Rye Lane” tells the story of an accountant Dom (“Industry’s” David Jonsson), and costume designer Yas (Vivian Oparah), who are both trying to get over their exes. Inadvertently Dom and Yas form a bond and spend the day together after Yas crashes Dom’s meeting with his ex and her new boyfriend, Dom’s former best friend since primary school.
While on the surface, this premise may sound familiar “Rye Lane’s” striking visual identity and snappy dialogue differentiate it from your traditional rom-com. Allen-Miller expertly uses angular camera work, bold colors, music, and flashbacks to breathe life into the story. What sets these flashbacks apart is that they play out as an idealized retelling of past events. So, when we flash to the present day, we get to know what really happened. This juxtaposition adds levity and infectiousness to the story, making you root for Dom and Yas as individuals and for them as a couple. Combined, the visual elements, dialogue, and music provide a welcome sort of sensory overload that transforms the dark and dreary streets of London into an explosion of life and color.
“Rye Lane” works because of the undeniable chemistry between our leads and a supporting cast in small but larger-than-life roles that exemplify the best maximalist filmmaking can offer. Romantic comedies are my cinematic sweet spot, so I am thrilled whenever I can find another movie to add to my feel-good rotation. While “Rye Lane” is romantic and sweet it doesn’t overbear in its warmth. A film that knows how to make the best of its 82-minute runtime. It never overstays its welcome and provides a satisfying conclusion. Raine Allen-Miller’s “Rye Lane” ranks along with Emma Seligman’s “Shiva Baby” as two of the most satisfying and assertive debut features in recent memory.
“Rye Lane” Trailer