Film Review: "I Love You Both" is the reason to go to film festivals. It is the quintessential experience of seeing new talent communicate with fresh voices and visuals that fill each frame with quiet grace.
"I Love You Both" is produced, directed, and stars Doug Archibald in his first feature length film. Mr. Archibald co-wrote the film with his sister and co-star Kristin Archibald, and they demonstrate an ear for dialogue that made every line crackle with wit, humor, absurdity, honesty, and life. This is one of those films where you can close your eyes and simply listen to the actors speak and be completely sated.
However, I wouldn't keep them closed for long, because the visuals are equally impressive. Each shot is carefully and meticulously framed, focused, and lit. Every pattern of wallpaper, wardrobe selection, and location is lovingly selected by Mr. Archibald and production designers Jay Kyung Eum and Jagyoung Eum, and set decorator and art department Jessica Miano Kruel and Jessica Kruel (who may be the same person).
The film uses the provocative plot of fraternal twins Don and Krystal, played by Mr. and Ms. Archibald respectively, who begin to date the same man, Andy, portrayed by Lucas Neff ("Raising Hope"). However, this is merely a vehicle to explore the relationship of Donny and Krystal and their bond. We see their love, kindness, loyalty, and truth as they grapple with their yearning to care for someone other than each other. And as the world disappoints them time and time again, they have each other.
One of the most satisfying aspects of the film is that we just don't see Don and Krystal stuck in a co-dependent brother and sister relationship and spinning in place, but we see each struggle and evolve as they face their individual challenges. So many scripts get this wrong. How many times must I watch characters start and end the film as the same person. How many times must I watch characters experience contrived epiphanies created out of nothing. Each character must emotionally begin the story one place and finish in another, even if their physical bodies only move a few yards from where they began.
Finally, I should note the sound department for helping Mr. Archibald hit the right note with every beat, song, and sound effect (there was only one scene when bird chirping pulled me out of the scene in the hotel room after he finishes tying the bow-tie— perhaps that can be fixed?).
I'm not sure I will see a better film at the Napa Valley Film Festival. This is a gem that should be picked up at more film festivals.
If I was still writing script coverage for a studio, I would highly recommend this film be picked up for US and international distribution for limited release in art houses, and definitely for streaming in the US, Canada, and Europe. It was my absolute delight to see this film.