‘Rye Lane’ Captures Young Black Love In A Hilarious And Heartwarming Way – Sundance 2023 Review
Raine Allen-Miller makes her feature directorial debut with the romantic comedy we need! Allen-Miller’s Rye Lane is a well-crafted and visually stunning story, with exceptional performances by David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah. Utterly captivating and endearing, Rye Lane will be the rom-com no one will stop talking about this year.
Dom (David Jonsson) is in the midst of an emotional breakdown in a bathroom stall, gearing up for an uncomfortable dinner with his ex and her new partner (who just so happens to be his best friend). Enter Yas (Vivian Oparah), a carefree spirit nursing her own heartbreak. Determined to ease Dom’s pain, Yas joins him for the dinner date. Allen-Miller takes us on a wild and joyful journey through Peckham as the two young Londoners impulsively navigate karaoke bars and playgrounds, slowly opening their hearts to the possibility of loving again. What unfolds is a day full of unpredictable mayhem.
Director Allen-Miller immerses the audience into Dom and Yas’ world through masterful use of wardrobe, courtesy of costume designer Cynthia Lawrence-John, production design by Anna Rhodes, and Allen-Miller’s filmmaking techniques paired with Olan Collardy’s cinematography. A true standout in their craft, the director’s attention to detail elevates the film to new heights. Allen-Miller’s unique storytelling technique effectively endears the characters to the audience, striking a balance between emotional depth and lighthearted humour. Allen-Miller’s feature debut is a standout achievement that will leave audiences eagerly anticipating her future projects.
David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah deliver outstanding performances in the film. Jonsson’s portrayal of Dom is resonant and moving, balanced beautifully with Oparah’s magnetic and energetic portrayal of Yas. The chemistry between the two lead actors is palpable, making it easy to believe in the bond formed between their characters. Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia’s writing lays the foundation for Jonsson and Oparah’s vibrant performances.
The soundtrack and musical selections in the film deserve special recognition. The placement of the songs at pivotal moments in the story leaves a lasting impression; the soundtrack will undoubtedly be a hit with audiences. Composer Kwes deftly brings to life the vibrancy and uniqueness of the script and Allen-Miller’s vision, as the musical choices play an integral role in advancing the narrative and are simply outstanding.
The universal themes shine bright through the perfectly British humour and quaint British dialogue and will resonate with all audiences. Watching these well-drawn young Black characters slowly opening their hearts is an uplifting experience, and the optimism and joy of the film is delightfully palpable throughout the runtime.
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