Rye Lane

Review by Cat Earley

The 2023 Oscars – as per the usual fare – were awash with all the glitz and glamour expected of such an affair. Thoughtful and moving films like A24’s Everything, Everywhere, All at Once and Netflix’s All Quiet on the Western Front swept the awards with all the fanfare that such films deserve in our current superhero-dominated climate. But as delighted as I am to see such meticulously-crafted films coating the Academy Awards this year, I have to admit that there is still some part of me that longs for the stereotypical rom-com.

A film like Rye Lane (2023, Raine Allen-Miller) is exactly the kind of film to whet this kind of appetite. Like Before Sunrise’s (1995, Richard Linklater) Jesse and Celine before them, Dom (David Jonsson) and Yas’ (Vivian Oparah) relationship develops after a chance meeting, and their evolving relationship becomes the emotional core of the film as the pair try to mend their respective broken hearts through their newfound connection with one another.

As a film, Rye Lane is simultaneously silly and fun, and emotional and tear-jerking. Its impressive cinematography works in tandem with this dichotomy, both energetic and bright, and soft and revealing. Colourful lights and elements of chiaroscuro mirror other thoughtfully lit film endeavours of the decade like A24’s Euphoria (2019-), and Allen-Miller’s use of effects like dutch angles are expertly weaved into the film and its narrative.

It can be easy to look down on a film like a rom-com for being too ‘girly’ or not conveying enough important or pervasive themes in our society, but Rye Lane truly is a film that makes a case for the genre. The dialogue is witty, the characters are realistic, and the chemistry between the actors is incredibly palpable. The energy of the film is electric, and going to the cinema to see it certainly made my day just that little bit brighter. The odds are out on whether Rye Lane – or any film in its ilk for that matter – will ever be ‘Oscar-worthy’, but it’s definitely entertaining, and at the end of the day, isn’t that the point of cinema?


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