Sundance Film Festival Movie Review – One for the Road

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When Bong Joon Ho won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film last year for Parasite, he said, “”Once you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”

I love this sentiment.  As a teenager, I was lucky to have a mother willing to take me to see films like Il Postino and Life is Beautiful.  I was sad because my sister — who refuses to read subtitles — missed out on these and other amazing films (such as Pan’s Labyrinth).

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If you have not yet, I invite you to overcome that 1-inch tall barrier.  And One For the Road would be a great foreign language film to start with.

Producer Wong Kar-wai is known for directing romantic films full of longing.  (I highly recommend In the Mood For Love.). Thai director Nattawut “Baz” Poonpiriya is better known for thrillers.

One for the Road is like a lost Kar-wai film, and marks an interesting new direction for Poonpiriya.

Boss, a club owner, receives a call from an estranged friend, Aood, who is dying.  Aood (Ice Natara) asks Boss (Thanapob Leeratanakajorn) to visit him.  When Boss comes to see him, Aood asks for a favor.  He wants Boss to drive him on a road trip to say goodbye to all the girls he has loved.

After the first three meetings with ex-lovers, the movie veers in a different direction and becomes a different yet equally satisfying film.

This was my first Sundance film, so it will always have a special place in my heart.  I was happy it won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award for Creative Vision.

What I love about One for the Road

I’ve wanted to see more romances ever since I watched Brooklyn a few years ago.  I don’t feel like Hollywood makes enough quality love stories.

For example, the most romantic thing on Netflix right now isn’t a movie; it’s a TV show called Bridgerton.  I often see trailers that start out romantic and then turn out to be thrillers instead.

It’s refreshing to me to see a movie with its heart on its sleeve.  One for the Road is a movie with an aching love story at its center.  The entire cast gives memorable performances.  The movie tells an intriguing story with a couple of plot twists.

And there’s a few good laughs too.  Like when Boss and Aood end up on the set of a melodramatic soap opera….

Criticism of One for the Road

Critics of the film have labelled it as melodramatic.  But I think any true romantic will enjoy it.  Some say it’s an hour too long.  I’ve sat through shorter films that have felt much longer.  (I’m looking at you, Last Christmas.)

One for the Road is a journey worth taking.

Final thoughts on One for the Road

Sadly, this great film does not have a distributor yet.  This is one of the bittersweet aspects of Sundance, getting to see something wonderful you may never get to see again.

Along with R#J, this was one of the two most romantic films I saw at Sundance.  I hope it gets released later this year and you get to come along for the ride.

Movie Grade: A

Sundance Festival Movie Review – R#J

Movie Review – Isn’t It Romantic – Fluffy, Good Fun

Movie Review – After – Happy and Bittersweet Young Adult Romance

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