by screenwriter Sarah Koskoff
When I told Todd Louiso, my husband and the director of Hello I Must Be Going, that I was going to write a script for him to direct about a woman who gets divorced and has an affair with someone much younger than herself, he wasn't happy. I went ahead and wrote it anyway. Thus began our first collaboration as writer and director, respectively, with my radical act of rebellion.
I had to ignore him. He was suffering from a loss of heart, just like Amy Minsky, the lead character in Hello I Must Be Going. And like Amy, he wasn’t thinking clearly. Somewhere along the way, he’d disconnected from himself and his love for his work. But I hadn’t! We had a family to support, by God! We would go back to the beginning, I decided, to what we both loved: to simple and truthful story-telling, the power of connected and committed actors, beautiful and rich photography, grounded and expressive language, and the more-than-occasional pratfall. Making the film became a regenerative process as much as a story about a personal regeneration.
After all, Amy Minsky, so gorgeously and dimensionally realized by Melanie Lynskey, is a disconnected artist herself. We experience her artist’s perspective through the strangeness of her parents’ house, the comic restrictiveness of her family’s banter, the heightened colors and light. But because Amy’s buried the artist so deeply inside herself, her perspective is muted, behind glass; airtight, sterile, stifling.
No one can be fully themselves in this space, not just Amy. And in many ways, it’s the statue she herself has made of her flesh and blood mother (the elegant and deep Blythe Danner) that Amy must reckon with most of all.
This is the world Jeremy enters (played by the soulful Christopher Abbott), like Amy, muted and accommodating. He’s instantly, passionately, drawn to the part of her that’s hidden. Their potent attraction and very intense sex awakens the buried life force and begins to shake everything, threatening to finally shatter the fish bowl they’re all trapped in. How could Amy even think of unearthing her true self, whatever that might be at this point, when just wearing a t-shirt is a threat to household equilibrium! It’s way too dangerous—water pouring everywhere... dangerously sharp shards of glass underfoot!
Groucho Marx, Walt Whitman and Robert Mapplethorpe circle Amy as well, making things shakier still. These uniquely American artists embraced their individual perspectives to such a degree that they shattered their cultural frameworks. They transformed the world they lived in by being fully themselves.
It’s a simple thing, really, “being fully yourself.” It’s also a radical act of rebellion. To be fully seen on top of that can bring the whole house down.