Covid-19 came and changed the world completely. Every single aspect of our lives was impacted in one way or another. Work, education, and relationships, all of them stood still at the same time, until the moment we could figure out how to move forward. Entertainment was also impacted in a huge way. Suddenly, movie theaters were dangerous spaces and home entertainment was the name of the game, letting us find our own fun from the comfort of our bedrooms.
Streaming services and the demand for more and more content have become the norm, and now that things have somewhat stabilized, a new wave of forms of education, jobs, relationships, and, of course, entertainment are being born each day. The One You’re With belongs to that new kind of film that we will be seeing more of in the coming years.
The One You’re With is a film written and directed by C.Bailey Wegner, who also stars alongside Koko Marshall. The film tells the story of a couple on their first date; when both of them decide to take the relationship to bed, they are caught off guard when the next morning they discover the whole country is on lockdown, and they cannot leave the house. Now, these two strangers need to learn how to live together for the foreseeable future.
The One You’re With is a perfect fit for the indie film genre. It has hipster looking characters, it deals with relationships and the harshness of modern life, and it even has an indie folk type of soundtrack with acoustic guitars and melancholic lyrics thrown in there for good measure. From the outside, all these elements look rather cliché. Nonetheless, the film rises above them all and ends up being a very enjoyable slice-of-life film, as well as one of the best films dealing with how the pandemic affected our lives.
The movie starts with a very strong premise and the characters are enjoyable enough to propel the running time to its limits without ever feeling too soapy, annoying, or boring. You could say that this is the type of movie where the plot is basically non-existent, and we focus on how the characters deal with each other and with the situation at hand. Wegner then decides to divide the story into small, easily digestible chunks, each focusing on a different aspect of life during the pandemic.
People are losing their jobs, the lack of human connection, the broken internet, and the torment of waiting for the groceries to be delivered. Everything is in there, and each aspect feels genuine because it was, and still is, for many people around the world. And so, Wegner has found a subject that is universally relatable to almost every single human being on the planet right now.
Wegner is a likable enough protagonist. His looks aren’t particularly unique, and that makes him a perfect everyday man. The same happens with Marshall, who is cute but feels real enough to be someone you know, instead of the fake image of a supermodel as the girl next door. Both performances are quite nice.
There’s nothing outstanding here, but they’re natural enough to avoid that feeling of artificiality that comes with bad performances. They also have enough chemistry to pass for a couple in their early days. It all feels pretty good in this aspect of the film.
Visually, you can feel the lack of budget, but Wegner makes the most out of the situation, and being a film about the pandemic, staying in just one location is best. By the end of the film, your spatial awareness of the house is almost as good as the character’s, which means that at least to a point, the film was able to translate what is living with these characters. Even when that time ends up being just under 90 minutes.
Outside the pandemic context, the film is pretty standard on the subjects it tackles. Achieving the context of what being a grown up is has been very hard for our generation. To own a house, have enough income to raise children and also have a fulfilling life on its own are really hard goals to achieve nowadays. So it’s completely understandable and relatable when the characters feel like living one day at a time is enough. Instead of making plans that might never come to fruition, no matter how hard they try. The atmosphere is grim, but the movie remains hopeful around every subject, even towards the end.
The One You’re With is one of the best pandemic films around. Not only because it deals with the pandemic and everything surrounding it in a very realistic way, but also because it presents real characters, reacting in a very familiar and relatable way. It might bring bad memories to some members of the audience, but the film’s good vibes will win most people for sure.
If what you need is a subtle romantic film that feels more real than 90% of the other movies of its type, then The One You’re With is for you. Let’s see what Wegner and Marshall have in store next.