By Don Simpson | September 27, 2012
Director: Todd Louiso
Writer: Sarah Koskoff
Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, John Rubinstein, Julie White, Christopher Abbott
Following her heartbreaking divorce, Amy (Melanie Lynskey) has not left her parents’ house for the last three months. With no self-confidence or ambition (her mother assumes that Amy is depressed), Amy wears the same crummy old oversized red t-shirt every single day.
Amy’s parents do not know how to help her, so they just continue to wait for Amy to buck up and move on with her life. But how can she? Amy studied literature in college and photography in graduate school — two degrees that will certainly never earn her enough money to support herself (at least according to this film). Heck, she never even finished her masters thesis due to the binding shackles of her wedding ring (in other words, she had to entertain her husband’s clients).
Amy’s parents are economically stuck for a much different reason. After losing a significant share of their investments during the last financial crash, Amy’s lawyer father (John Rubinstein) is unable to retire, and Amy’s mother (Blythe Danner) cannot go on the around the world trip that she has always dreamed about. Besides, they have to support their hapless daughter until she can get back on her feet again. (But there never seems to be any mention of Amy’s mother’s massive home decorating budget.)
With the potential for a big business deal in the works, Amy’s father finally sees the light at the end of the tunnel. The next step — woo his potential client with a nice dinner party. Easy enough, right? Well, first Amy must straighten up her act, because she definitely cannot show up to the dinner table looking all frumpy and disheveled.
Amy gets herself a sexy black dress and puts on a happy face for her father’s client, but the event is obviously not very much fun for her…well, at least not until Jeremy (Christopher Abbott), an accomplished 19-year old actor, unexpectedly smooches her. An affair with someone 16 years her junior — not to mention the son of her father’s client — could destroy her father’s chances of closing his business deal. So, now what?
Todd Louiso’s Hello I Must Be Going is about taking full advantage of your personal freedoms, doing what you want to do and being the person you want to be. More specifically, do not allow familiar relations to bind or bully you. As Amy explains, “don’t do it if you don’t want to do it. It’s your life, it’s nobody else’s.” For example, Jeremy is an actor who hates acting — he wants to become a writer — and Amy is unemployed but would like to pursue photography. The question remains, how can they pursue these new careers without being bound to their families, specifically the guilt trips of their nagging mothers.
Along the same lines, the film contemplates the passive role of women in relationships. This is about the invisible women, the ones who abandon their career aspirations in order to support their husbands. Keeping the home and family together is a thankless job despite the insurmountable levels of stress. Of course Amy’s father does not have it any easier, having to bear the entire financial weight of his household. He just wants to get his ducks in a row before retiring, why can’t people respect that?
Hello I Must Be Going also ponders whether a 19-year-old guy could possibly have a better understanding of how to live life to its fullest and truly love someone than a 35-year-old woman. Amy has had a rug pulled over her eyes for her entire adult life, knowing nothing other than her one long-term relationship. Jeremy is almost half her age, but as a great actor (and aspiring writer) with a strong feminine side (his mother assumes that he is gay) he seems to have a pretty good idea of what “it” is all about. While Amy has barely experienced life at all, due to her restrictive relationship, Jeremy has experienced the world through the personas of countless personalities (he has even been Robert Mapplethorpe).