September 18, 2015
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Melanie Lynskey shines in emotional Sundance hit “Hello, I Must Be Going” – AWARDS Tweet about Melanie Lynskey, and the actress might respond.

I took to the social media tool shortly after screening Todd Louiso’s Sundance hit “Hello, I Must Be Going” to comment on Lynskey’s heartwrenching, multi-faceted performance. Not that I was surprised. She consistently has delivered engrossing turns in welcome dramas like “Heavenly Creatures,” “Shattered Glass,” “Away We Go,” “Up in the Air” and “Win Win.” To my surprise, though, Lynskey replied to my comment.

“So happy you liked it. Thanks so much,” the Tweet stated.

I showed my wife, Michele, who also was moved by Lynskey’s emotional turn. “That probably isn’t her,” Michele replied. “She probably has people for that.”

Sometimes my wife can be so cynical.

The Tweet may or may not be authentic, but Lynskey’s performance in “Hello” is the real deal. She anchors an atypical coming-of-age story, the one where the protagonist is in her late-30s and is forced to mature after her marriage has fallen apart. Lynskey’s character, Amy, has moved back in with her parents (Blythe Danner, John Rubinstein), who are supportive to varying degrees. But she finds comforting solace in the arms of a younger man — OK, a much younger man, if we’re being honest — played by “Girls” standout Christopher Abbott.

The May-December romance of “Hello” follows predictable patterns, and is sold by the legitimate chemistry created between Lynskey (whose character is calculated mess) and Abbott (whose character is a bundle of adolescent hormones and unearned confidences). There’s awkward heat, and the inevitable moment when each realizes the relationship can’t work. It continues, anyway.

If that were the whole story, I might not be recommending “Hello” with such enthusiasm, despite its performances. But the film’s third act takes viewers on several mature steps forward in the emotional developments of its entire ensemble. These discoveries should be yours to unearth. All I’ll say is that Louiso has a firm grasp on where he wants these characters to go, and he understands when and where in the story he’s able to give them a push. While Lynskey excels through the whole of “Hello,” her powerful scenes with Danner and the always welcome Dan Futterman (in a brief but brutal cameo) reveal layers that had been present in the story the entire time. We just weren’t necessarily looking for them.

“Hello, I Must Be Going” was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Oscilloscope Pictures will open the film in limited release on Sept. 7, before expanding to more markets. When it reaches you, see it. Then Tweet Lynskey and tell her what you thought.

Read more of our exclusive Awards interviews:
Producer Harvey Weinstein
“Writers” director Josh Boone

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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