Twins compete over the same man.
By David Goldberg
The creative processes of filmmaker siblings will always fascinate audiences. How do Joel and Ethan Coen translate their bizarre shared language so cogently to movies like The Big Lebowski? And how do trans-identifying siblings Lana and Lilly Wachowski build one shared vision of queer pop utopia in ambitious projects like Sense8?
I Love You Both, an indie romance about two siblings torn over one man, co-written by real-life twins Kristin and Doug Archibald, misses an opportunity to explore how sexuality, creativity, and desire rebound and come together for a pair of people who share everything. The Archibalds star in the film (along with their mother) as twins Krystal and Donny, who find solace as roommates and best friends in the face of stagnating career and romantic ambitions. They live in a grimly twee world of printed Polaroids, embroidered sweaters, and out-of-touch friends and family members—a world that they navigate with a shared lack of enthusiasm. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Australian creator/star Josh Thomas’ joyously droll series Please Like Me, but Donny and Krystal lack Thomas’ sense of self-awareness and ability to get a kick out of his surroundings. Instead, they seem to mope around, only finding comfort at the breakfast table together.
But their co-dependent union unravels with the introduction of Andy (Raising Hope’s Lucas Neff), a charmer who can’t seem to make up his mind about which sibling he wants to spend more time with. Suddenly, the twins are passive-aggressively competing over the same man, and the loser must face the fact that his or her life may not have enough going for it without its other half.
Luckily, the movie doesn’t make Andy fall into stereotypes of bisexual-identifying people as indecisive: he makes his choice. And while the inevitable moment of reconciliation and moving on between the siblings makes for a novel approach to the old love-triangle formula, I Love You Both seems to fade out without giving much perspective into the mysterious emotional life of close siblings. What’s it like to have a shared world and heightened emotional connection while jonesing for the same guy? In what could have been a rare view inside the mindscape—and sex lives—of a pair bound my more than creativity, I Love You Both plays out as a drippy, straightforward romantic situational drama. It’s a well-crafted diversion from a favorite conflict in romantic comedies, but it lacks the weird—and potentially fun—implications of a shared sibling crush. Hopefully the Archibalds can dig deeper, and go stranger, in their next exploration of their inner lives.
From Magnolia Pictures (magpictures.com).