Every genre has its identifying elements that help viewers know what to expect and decide what they like. But the film industry is ever changing, and as filmmakers look for new and inventive ways to tell stories, we get new experiences like the merging or genres or something completely unexpected thrown into a tried and true formula. The Right One is a very different type of romantic comedy, and the director says this is one of the best compliments he could get.
As a huge fan of romantic comedies myself, there are stories like How To Lose A Guy In 10 Daysor Friends With Benefits that I revisit whenever I want to lift my spirits. I know I’m going to see people fall in love, I know I’m going to laugh, and I know I’m going to feel happy when it’s over. The Right One includes all of these things, but at its core it’s about trauma and identity, which is very interesting and reaches a depth that most romantic comedies do not explore. As leading lady Cleopatra Coleman told CinemaBlend:
It’s about a trauma. [Godfrey] is not schizophrenic and doesn’t have an addiction. This is a person who has experienced a childhood trauma and found a way to cope, and in doing so he hasn’t been himself in so long that he doesn’t know who he is. And Sara doesn’t either. She thinks she does as a writer, but we see she has a lot of learning and growing to do as well. So both are really discovering themselves and it’s beautiful to see. Sara is unapologetically herself, and she’s flawed, which I love and I think is very endearing. That’s much more interesting than the girl who has it all together. We are all flawed individuals trying to figure it out and that’s what makes the characters relatable.
As someone who also loves good drama and gets way too invested in characters, this is an aspect of The Right One that I absolutely love. When I spoke to the writer/director, Ken Mok, he revealed that originally the film was going to be much darker, but Cleopatra Coleman (who plays the lead Sara) was so funny that he ended up re-writing it as a romantic comedy and the end result is fantastic.
Having such a light and funny film with a lead character (Nick Thune’s Godfrey) coping with a dark childhood is an interesting approach, because it can so easily go wrong. The Right One never pokes fun at Godfrey’s mental health and delivers many raw and real moments that are perfectly timed, while still maintaining a light tone overall. Director Ken Mok has been told many times now (by myself included) that The Right One is very different, but in a good way, and he loves this. Here was his response:
The last thing I wanted to do, you know, in doing this film was create the cliched romantic comedy. I think, what surprises a lot of people, is they’re like ‘it's a very different type of romantic comedy,’ which to me that's the greatest compliment you could have. Because that means it's unexpected and that's what I want. And in all my films, I really want it to feel fresh. No matter what genre I tackle. The most important thing for me, it’s a feel good movie. If you watch the movie, you feel a little bit better about humanity in general. People really need a laugh right now and really need to feel good.
The Right One definitely accomplishes Ken Mok’s goals of feeling fresh, not being cliched, and making the audience feel good. The film is out now on digital, on demand, and in select theaters. It’s been a tough year, so if you’re looking for more lighthearted options, check out this list of romantic comedies.