Based on the childhood exploits of actor George Hamilton, My One and Only follows the four month adventure of Anne Deveraux (Renee Zellweger) and her two teenage sons (of different fathers) George (Logan Lerman) and Robbie (Mark Rendall). After growing tired of the uninvolved and adulterous ways of her musician husband Dan (Kevin Bacon) Anne gathers her two sons and sets out on an adventure to find a husband who will support her and her children. We see that Anna has no real relationship with her children particularly with her son George; despite her constant reassurances to her children it is obvious that she has no real direction in life and is more concerned with her own well being rather than her children. Throughout the film Anna encounters several men whom she forms significant bonds, eventually all of the relationships result in engagements but then dissolve due to varying issues. The boys also have their own agendas; Robbie is an aspiring young actor while George is an aspiring writer who is truly more concerned with finding some kind of stability in his life. The main relationship displayed in the film is with George and Anna; throughout the film their two personalities clash and we see the journey of a mother and son bonding through the most unconventional circumstances.
A comedy, at its surface, the film is propelled by incredibly witty dialogue that never seems to leave the realm of the 50’s. The character of Anne is a caricature of the naïve 50’s woman who is blinded by the fallacies of the American Dream. She neglects her children and moral values, hoping to somehow achieve a luxurious life while doing the least amount of work. Due to her romanticized views of life, Anne is seen as very sophomoric and childish while her sons are more mature and are (literally) just along for the ride. This ironic family composition, where the children seem to have an authority over a childish parent, is a great device for comedy as you see a grown woman’s incredible naivety and indulgence as she seems to learn more from her children than they learn from her.
The three main characters provide great performances, the most prominent of which is Renee Zellweger’s. Zellweger’s performance ranges from quirky to heart-wrenching as she shows us a woman who is slowly coming to the realization that her grandiose dreams and idealized view of success will most likely not come to fruition. Logan Lerman effectively plays the assertive and headstrong George, while Mark Rendall delivers a great comedic turn as the loyal and effeminate Robbie.
The film remains entirely in the real of the 50’s from its visual style, dialogue and progression. The film has a unique duality in the sense that although it is a semi-biographical narrative film, its presentation of the 50’s culture gives it a very documentary styled presentation; as the story is told completely through the eyes of George (the real life George Hamilton executive produced the film). The film does suffer from this style at times as some of the more sentimental scenes seemed too melodramatic or forced.
Simple, Heartwarming, and filled with lessons on maturity and family, My One and Only is great trip back to a time when the true opportunities of American culture had to be sought by a person rather than presented to one.
Weak: 1 Star Average: 2 Stars Good: 3 Stars Very Good: 4 Stars Excellent: 5 Stars