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ICYMI: ‘Rye Lane’ is a Refreshingly Creative Meet-Cute (Review)

‘Rye Lane’ is the debut feature from director Raine Allen-Miller. Earlier this fall, the it led the pack with a whopping 16 nominations at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA).

While attending a friend’s art exhibition, Dom (David Jonsson) breaks down in a gender-neutral bathroom. His long-term girlfriend Gia has cheated on him with his best friend and Dom just can’t take it anymore. He feels safe to have an isolated cry in the bathroom, but Yas (Vivian Oparah) overhears him in the stall next door.

The two cross paths later while checking out their mutual friend’s artwork on display and Yas clocks Dom by noticing it was his shoes under the bathroom stall. But Yas has recently gotten out of a relationship too and, although she plays it cool, it was also a difficult experience for her too.

Even though they aren’t fully sure what to think about each other, Yas and Dom bond over broken hearts and the opportunity to help each other heal. Yas does just that when she crashes a lunch meeting between Dom, Gia, and his ex-best friend.

As a thank you, Dom agrees to help Yas get her favorite record back from her ex-boyfriend’s apartment. It turns into quite an adventure that bonds them together even more. Whatever doubts they had about each other begin to float away.

We continue to follow their adventures, from meeting in a bathroom to slaying on a karaoke stage.

The Verdict

Exterior shots of the neighborhoods across Southeast London help give the story an authentic, lived-in feel. Cinematographer Olan Collardy uses an anamorphic lens that distorts the edges of the widescreen frame and a filter that lovingly captures the darker skin tones of the lead actors. It’s a beautiful looking movie, something that isn’t always a priority for a rom-com.

Warp recording artist Kwes composed the film’s brilliant score and also produced several tracks for the soundtrack featuring Sampha and Tirzah on vocals. Within minutes of finishing the movie, I was online searching for a vinyl release to order.

Allen-Miller directs a sharply-written script from Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia. It delivers laughter, sweetness, and vulnerability in a way that we don’t often see. Our leads don’t even really like each other at first and it takes a lot of trauma bonding for them to even start to see the other person as somebody they might want to get to know more. The creative evolution of their relationship and the shift it makes in the final act is something really special.

If you’re catching up on the year’s best movies, make sure to add ‘Rye Lane’ to your watchlist.

Grade: A

How to Watch ‘Rye Lane’

‘Rye Lane’ is streaming now on Hulu.

Looking for More Movies to Watch?

Check out our December streaming preview for even more recommendations!

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