January 20, 2012


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Written by: Mitch Salem


Sundance changed the way it kicks things off this year. Instead of a single high-profile Opening Night Film (which has almost always turned out to be a disappointment), the festival screened several smaller films. For those of us who arrived before the madness begins in earnest tomorrow, there was the chance to get Wait List tickets at the very last minute, something that won’t be repeated until the last days of the festival, when almost everyone has left.

One of tonight’s films was the very Sundancey HELLO I MUST BE GOING, directed by Todd Louiso and written by Sarah Koskoff. Nothing pleases the Sundance gods quite like a mix of people in their 30s enduring life crises and dysfunctional suburban families (although really any locale of dysfunctional family will do).
The person in crisis here is Amy (Melanie Lynsky), dumped by her entertainment lawyer husband (Dan Futterman) and now drifting through a state of depression at the Long Island house of her parents (Blythe Danner and John Rubinstein). One night, though, entertaining potential clients of her dad, she meets the couple’s 19-year old son (Christopher Abbott), and before long they’ve embarked on a passionate affair that brings Amy back to life.
There aren’t a lot of narrative surprises in Hello I Must Be Going. Amy is embarrassed by the affair and insists they keep it a secret, and you can imagine how well that works out. It all ends up very bittersweetly, everyone having learned some valuable life lessons. Despite the basic patness of the story, there are some good laughs in Koskoff’s script, and under Louiso’s direction, the cast and especially Lynskey and Danner are excellent. Hello is certainly more lively than Louiso’s last film about depression, the truly lugubrious Love, Liza.
It’s not clear at this point in the festival if the projection in the main venue has a problem, or if this film really was shot in an unattractive, washed-out grey. In either case, the technical credits seem average, no more.
Hello I Must Be Going is a decent enough way to begin Sundance, showcasing the fine acting that’s always been a hallmark of the festival. We’ll have to keep our hopes up, though, for some genuine excitement.
– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."