Though horror is my favorite genre, I love a good comedy, especially mixed in with other genres. So rom-com is right up my alley. Rye Lane, played at Sundance Film Festival and it is hilarious and oh-so-sweet. Written by Nathan Byron and Tom Melia and directed by Raine Allen Miller, the film follows a coincidental meeting between Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas (Vivian Oparah), both newly single, as they travel around south London. Quirky and stylish, with outstanding music and cast, Rye Lane sets a high bar for fun and joy in rom-com.
Rye Lane Has Love Begin in a Stall
The movie begins with a brilliant overhead shot of different bathroom stalls and various people and situations. Then it stops over Dom, a young, Black British man entering and crying in a unisex bathroom. Hearing someone outside, he tries to cry softly as Yas enters the stall beside his to do her business. After checking if Dom’s alright, she leaves the bathroom. But not before kneeling down and seeing his pink Chucks.
Dom exits the bathroom to eye the art pieces on the wall in the gallery. Yas, recognizing him from his footwear, approaches him and strikes up a conversation. When they exit, since their destinations are in the same direction, they stroll, leisurely chatting along the way. When Dom confesses he’s on the way to meet his ex, Gia, Yas, going through heartbreak herself, decides to intervene.
Chemistry is Sizzling
Rye Lane reminds me a lot of Man Up, another British rom-com. But here, the music through their South London travails and South London itself form more than a backdrop. It feels like a love letter to the area as much as a love story between the two. You know the kind of smiles and wit that, even when you try not to, you can’t help but smile? That’s Dom and Yas, though Yas,, in particular. She has a contagious smile. The chemistry between the pair is evident, leaving you clamoring for them to be together. The read Yas delivers about Gia, the responses from Eric, and Dom’s reaction signal a turning point for Yas and Dom.
Leaves You In Stitches
Their humor is as wonderful as Yas’s attire. I love the hot pink bag and purple sneakers. They banter, talking about their careers, and Dom opens up and explains what happened with his ex-girlfriend. Rye Lane‘s direction stands out moreso here, as the edit shift from the pair entering a store to entering a theater as Dom recounts learning about Gia and his friend Eric’s (Benjamin Sarpong-Broni) affair. The direction and Dom and Yas’s responses turn this moment of betrayal into comedy gold. The comedy is fast-paced in its delivery.
When descriptions are so detailed, you feel you are physically there. That’s the recounting of Dom’s past in a nutshell. Present Dom and Yas watching past Dom discover his girlfriend’s affair. They also stick around for Dom’s subsequent reaction. Kudos to Raine Allen Miller that Dom’s past heartbreak is them standing there watching while Yas’s past is an onstage performance. The differences between the pair make sense in hindsight. Their recounting and the direction live and breathe the phrase “outside of myself” but a hilarious version.
Love Your Rom-Com Heavy on the Comedy? Get This
Rom-coms like Rye Lane talk about finding love after heartbreak. Yet, they weave a hilarious string of comedy through the story. It highlights how embarrassing, sad moments can often be comedic fuel when we look back. Comedy is an outlet for painful emotions. It takes experiences and societal constraints and makes you look at it from a “this is ridiculous” standpoint. Rye Lane captures this in a sweetly hilarious fashion. It is not a sweeping romance but a realistic look at how random encounters can sometimes hide the love of your life. And shout out to the Colin Firth cameo! Loved him as Mr. Darcy.