The “walk-and-talk” filmmaking technique is where characters have a conversation while moving from one location to the next. Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy masterfully executed this storytelling technique thanks to impeccable writing and brilliant performances from Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Raine Allen-Miller’s comedy, Rye Lane, is an absolute charmer, bringing its own unique flavor to the storytelling technique.
‘Rye Lane’ deals with the hurt of a breakup
Dom (David Jonsson) is on the edge of a breakdown after his girlfriend, Gia (Karene Peter), broke up with him. He happens to meet Yas (Vivian Oparah) when he’s embarrassingly sobbing in a public toilet stall while trying to mentally prepare himself for having an awkward meal with his now-ex. Gia cheated on him with his best friend, Eric (Benjamin Sarpong-Broni), and they want to clear their guilty conscience.
Yas suddenly decides to tag along to help Dom face his cheating ex-girlfriend and maintain his dignity. The two Londoners end up spending the day together to go through karaoke bars, playgrounds, and visit other familiar faces. This fateful meeting is one step closer to each of them opening their hearts again.
Opening your heart again to love
Rye Lane screenwriters Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia’s script is fairly straightforward. It’s a romantic comedy, but it taps into other relatable ideas, such as kindness and selfishness in humanity. Dom and Yas are practically strangers, but they take turns helping one another with their relationship and emotional woes. However, not all of the folks that they pass by on their journey are so kind, exploring how they negatively impacted their current lives.
The walk-and-talk conversations are primarily about their relationship issues. However, Dom feels like a complete loser in front of Yas, who has no issue standing up for herself. He calls her “iconic” for responding handling her ex-boyfriend (Malcolm Atobrah) the blunt way that she did, but she accidentally left her copy of A Tribe Called Quest’s LP The Low End Theory record at his place. As a result, they go on an adventure to find a way inside of his place to reclaim what he refuses to return back to her.
Dom and Yas are both hurting in contrasting ways, as they built up certain walls to keep it from happening again. The real journey of Rye Lane is watching those barriers begin to fade, as they talk about life, love, and heartbreak. It’s no secret where their affection for one another is headed, but it’s about the journey in getting there.
‘Rye Lane’ is a hilariously elating experience
Allen-Miller injects Rye Lane with a young London aesthetic with its finger on the pulse of its generation. The soundtrack is stellar and there’s an overall buoyant, infectious energy to it. This is more than the standard walk-and-talk movie, as it’s visually quirky, embedding almost dreamlike cutaways to the stories that Dom and Yas share with one another. Olan Collardy’s cinematography pops with bright, lush colors that make the city of London truly come to life.
Bryon and Melia’s screenplay is dialogue-heavy, but it remains punchy and sharp. It puts a lot of weight on its performers shoulders to carry the material, and they do exactly that. Jonsson and Oparah have tremendous chemistry that will make you swoon with delight. No matter what embarrassing antics they find themselves in, it’s impossible not to want to root for their success.
There’s so much to love about this rom-com that goes beyond any Beyond trilogy comparisons. It doesn’t stray from the formula, but it proves to be one of the better contributions to the genre as of late, bursting with dazzling charm that easily wins you over. Rye Lane is equal parts hilarious and euphoric. I couldn’t stop smiling for nearly the entire film.
Rye Lane walks onto Hulu on March 31.