No man is an island. But you know who is an island? Twins! Twins can definitely make themselves into a little island. Krystal and Donny are supertwins and superfriends. They live together, they hang out together, and they even date the same guy. Wait – what?
Only in 2016? Even in 2016? Somehow they’ve met this supercool dude named Andy, and he’s everything either of them could hope for. He’s interesting and charming. But which one of them does he like? As close as they are, Krystal and Donny find out there are still things to learn about their relationship once they begin dating the same guy. Are they maybe a little codependent? How close is too close?
Krystal and Donny are played by real-life siblings Kristin and Doug Archibald, who also co-wrote the script (Doug directs). They have an easy and natural chemistry that really pops on screen. The relationship feels real and anyone who has siblings will relate. They wrote the script over the phone, long distance between L.A. and St. Louis, and funded it through a successful campaign on Indiegogo. Once all the parts were assembled, both took a hiatus from their day jobs to film, and the result is a rare instance where one might finally say “Please DO quit your day jobs.”
It’s a talky, dialogue-heavy film that’s a solid first effort if not always pitch-perfect. There’s a surprisingly light touch to it that makes the premise all the more palatable; the will they\won’t they, gay\straight\bi aspect is appropriately downplayed. This movie is really about the twins, about growing up and letting go, and it’s never more successful when it’s just Kristin and Doug on screen, eating heaping bowlfuls of noodles with their hapless dog.
The performances in the film are strong, but I particularly loved the comic sensibility of Krystal and Donny’s mother, played by Kristen and Doug’s real-life mom, Charlene. Watch this movie and tell me this doesn’t feel a little bit like your own mother. There’s a universality to the character while still having big personality. Only a mother can make you feel so bad about yourself by loving you so goddamned much. I totally want to eat casserole with this woman.
I Love You Both is an impressive debut feature and also an important moment for queer cinema – finally, the hearkening of a time when gay characters aren’t the point, they’re just part of the picture.