From Schorr Pictures and Provenance Pictures, Zoe Kazan and Jake Johnson star in this romantic comedy about life, love, and the complications of relationships. ‘The Pretty One’ is a story about Laurel and Audrey, identical twins who are very different. After the passing of their mother, Laurel stayed behind in a time warp that Audrey didn’t approve of. On their birthday, Audrey convinces Laurel to move in with her and, by a mere accident, they have a switch in identities. After the funeral set for Laurel, Laurel packs up and leaves to live Audrey’s life.
Here, she meets Basel and he becomes her best friend and love interest. Laurel comes to find out a lot about Audrey she hadn’t known and works to become a new Audrey that she likes. Her life continues and Laurel struggles to maintain Audrey with some difficulty. So, she falls apart as Audrey and confesses to Basel who she is. After that, she is forced to tell her father, especially after the reaction she gets from Basel. The world turns and Laurel survives, but only after burying Audrey with her family.
The acting is a bit staggered, Zoe Kazan isn’t a clear-cut Katherine/Elena (‘Vampire Diaries‘) with her Laurel/Audrey personalities, but Zoe is a much better Laurel, who is just a character that is cherished in society today. For the role of Basel, Jake Johnson is his typical awkward and goofy modern-boy self. With such a situation, it’s hard not to grow to love his character and root for Basel and Laurel’s relationship to grow. Frances Shaw is beautiful and sweet as Claudia, Audrey’s best friend, who remains faithful to her friend all throughout the ups and downs Laurel takes her on. But, overall, a great cast to work with and fun characters with a lot of depth and secrets.
The most cinematically beautiful part is over an hour in to see Laurel push apart the beds in the wide angled lens to make more of the small space. The music is clean and sweet, fitting for the feel of the film. Though her body of work is pretty thin, Jenée LaMarque exhibits great dedication and skill, especially with the storytelling of the situation. This story is simple enough to follow along and dread, but also consists of many personal victories for each character and comedic moments that lighten the situation. The story is safe and thickly padded, no risks are taken, not even with the camera work, and no great challenges that the protagonist must overcome. If you’re looking for a social commentary on sisterhood and modern relationships, this film is an easy watch with easy language and modernized traditional values.