Sundance 2023: Raine Allen Miller's Film 'Rye Lane' is RomCom Bliss
by Alex Billington
January 27, 2023
So fresh, much love, so funky, much London. Get in the groove with Rye Lane and you'll never forget Dom and Yas. One of the best original romantic comedy creations in years is the delightfully quirky, exceptionally entertaining Rye Lane, marking the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Raine Allen Miller. Rye Lane just premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival and is already set for release (in theaters in the UK / on Hulu in the US) from Searchlight Pictures starting in late March this spring. It's one of the many must-see, don't-miss-it, get-your-ticket-right-now films from Sundance this year - its been a fantastic year. I've been recommending it to anyone asking (it was one of my most anticipated of the fest, too). Thankfully everyone else who has seen it so far also loves it (here's one of the best reviews). The film instantly joins the ranks of beloved Sundance romcom classics like 500 Days of Summer, Before Midnight, Palm Springs, The Big Sick.
Raine Allen Miller creatively directs the Rye Lane screenplay written by Nathan Bryon and Tom Melia, following two youngsters who traverse South London together after randomly meeting at a mutual friend's art show. Vivian Oparah and David Jonsson star as Yas and Dom, who connect over their recent break-ups and begin chatting about life in London, relationships, food, and everything else good. Everything about the film feels so unique and fresh and one-of-a-kind, from their attraction to the visual style. The wide angle cinematography by DP Olan Collardy, along with an eclectic score by British musician Kwes, plus vibrant color design & costume choices, are all part of the unforgettable, instantly-influential charm of this modern romcom. Yas and Dom don't seem to be into each other at first, but as they start walkin' & talkin', catching up on life, trying to get the other to open up, they begin to get closer and closer. It doesn't take long to feel their effervescent chemistry flowing from the screen, you'll be rooting for them in no time and cheering at every moment from then on. Especially the fun restaurant scene with Dom's ex - one of the best in the film.
There's an abundance of romantic comedies in film, with plenty more being made year after year, ultimately only a few really stand out from the crowd. Rye Lane successfully reinvents and beautifully rethinks the in-one-day romcom with a gratifying contemporary touch. Not just a wholesome feel-good story, it's a distinct work of art in numerous ways, all of which stay true to the vision of what this story is supposed to mean - stop pining over the wrong person from your past and fall fully for that one person that you completely jive with. They're the right one. My only real issue with the film is how it all plays out at the end, not only with editing choices but also how the story takes a (necessary but still a tad frustrating) leap to get to the ending it needs to get to. Aside from that, I can't wait to watch this film again. I'm not alone in feeling totally swept off my feet by this discovery, I also think it might get even better on each rewatch, There's so many places they go in London, so many different amusing scenes, with each little moment acting both as commentary on relationships and giving them just the right wink-and-nudge to grow closer to each other. It's adorable.
There's not much more to add other than: let Dom and Yas be your tour guide - to London, and to life itself and romance. Rye Lane is certainly of the most exquisitely sweet and enjoyable new rom coms of this year.
Alex's Sundance 2023 Rating: 8.5 out of 10
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