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Film / The One I Love

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The One I Love, released in 2014, is a romantic comedy/thriller/horror/suspense/drama written & directed by Charlie (son of Malcolm) McDowell and starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss.

This work provides examples of:

  • Ambiguous Clone Ending: Real or fake Sophie? It all hinges on bacon.
  • Bed Trick: Ethan pulls this off on Sophie by pretending to be his clone. It's a coincidence that he catches her in a vulnerable moment but he doesn't reveal the deception until forced to by fake Ethan days later. Sophie is very hurt by it but it's not clear from the script that the writers are aware that what Ethan did was technically rape.
  • Clones Are People, Too: The fake Sophie is very hurt whenever it's suggested she's not real.
  • Fate Worse than Death: It's bad enough if the real Sophie is trapped with the fake Ethan, as she'll have to steal someone else's identity in order to escape. But considering his Uncertain Doom, how the hell is she going to leave if she's the only one trapped?
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  • Freak Out: Ethan has this when he goes in to the guest house and realizes that the lady inside is a clone of Sophie.
  • If I Can't Have You...: The fake Sophie agrees to help Ethan's efforts in escaping because she is adamant against seeing her husband with another woman.
  • Karma Houdini: The therapist has vanished when Ethan and Sophie return and has apparently never answered for what he did to the countless other couples.
  • Magic Realism: The film starts off as a domestic dramedy before becoming a domestic dramedy with very grounded elements of Science Fantasy.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: How the twist occurs is never explained. On the one hand, you have a very mundane recording studio where they have files of voice practice to "become" the new occupants, and then again the fake Sophie and Ethan disappear more quickly than is plausible. And none of that explains the forcefield clone-Ethan slams into.
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  • Minimalist Cast: Only Ethan and Sophie (as well as their clones) are really the only characters who get more than a few minutes of screentime, outside of the therapist.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ethan, when he realizes that his clone has started calling his friends and family to steal his identity.
    • A much longer one at the final scene, where he realizes that he's most likely picked the wrong Sophie.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: Ethan figures out that it's the clone Sophie because said character made bacon for him. The real Sophie would never make bacon for him.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: The therapist notes that Ethan and Sophie are "out-of-tune." Despite trapping the couples in a house, having clones steal their identities and live their lives, and then forcing them to do the same to the next unwitting couple, the therapist does bring the trapped couple "closer together" by forcing them to strategize and conspire together.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: One can interpret the fake Sophie doing this in the end, her smile to Ethan demonstrating that she's ready and willing to abandon her partner, who is in love with the real Sophie, and escape to freedom with Ethan.
  • The Shrink: The unnamed therapist played by Ted Danson who crosses from well-meaning to harmful as for no given reason he repeatedly sends troubled couples to the house to become either trapped or steal another couple's identities by seducing them separately and turning them against each other.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The fake partners are masters of this, disappearing whenever the real Ethan and Sophie appear together, until they decide to all meet up.
  • Uncertain Doom: The fake Ethan is knocked out when he hits the force field, and his prognosis is unknown.
  • The Unreveal: Whether or not Ethan took the wrong Sophie out of the house is not addressed, but it's heavily implied that he took the fake one.
  • Walking Spoiler: The trailers don't give away that the main characters are dealing with clones but it's impossible to talk about the latter half of the movie without bringing them up.


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