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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

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Alex Borg poses for a photo with an accordion on Soldiers and Sailors Lawn.
Alex Borg: Her accordion anchors a ‘no-man Jimmy Buffett band’
By Patrick Swain, Culture Editor • April 12, 2024
Opinion | CPCs, get off our campus
By India Krug, Senior Staff Columnist • April 12, 2024

Meaning at the Movies | ‘Rye Lane’: Romance and Realism

Meaning at the Movies is a biweekly blog that analyzes the depth and beauty behind different films.
Meaning+at+the+Movies+%7C+%E2%80%98Rye+Lane%E2%80%99%3A+Romance+and+Realism
Carrington Bryan | Staff Illustrator

From the moment “Rye Lane” started to long after it ended, I had a giant grin on my face. The film — which is the director’s feature directorial debut — centers on Yas and Dom, who are two people reeling from bad breakups as they spend a day together in South London. The movie is endlessly charming. From its bright poppy visuals to its incredible characters, this has become a new favorite of mine.

The cinematography of this film is to die for. There’s a lot of use of fisheye lenses, which can at first seem a little off-putting, but is ultimately so fun and playful as it adds to the film’s charm. The color palette of this film is also insane. Yas and Dom both have artist friends. Yas herself is an aspiring fashion designer, so the film is lush with art, gorgeous fashion and eye-catching color, all of which are perfectly blended together, making each frame its own incredible work of art. Both the score and the soundtrack also fit perfectly with the story and add so much to its already wonderful artistic experience. 

Then there’s the story itself. The plot is simple enough, as it follows two people going about their day in South London together. It is packed with romance, comedy and a whole lot of heart. This is a movie that balances tone impeccably as it blends humor, charm, pain and the romance at its core with a deft hand. 

Yas and Dom are wonderful complements to each other, while also still standing firmly on their own as fully layered and complex characters. Even in the mere 82-minute run time of the film, you gain a nuanced understanding of who they are as people. Not only that, but the film plays into some traits of the very best rom-coms, including incredible — and hilarious — supporting characters, insane antics like breaking into an ex’s apartment, a grand gesture and even a karaoke scene. 

This is simply a wonderful movie, and I think the best part is just how much delight it takes in the ordinary. Yas and Dom are ordinary people with ordinary messy lives. They have normal jobs, as Yas is a fashion assistant and aspiring designer and Dom is an accountant. They both have experienced difficult breakups that have left them a bit fearful of love. They simply feel like real people and like they truly are just one of your friends as you’re watching their love story begin. 

Everything within the story is realistic — it’s everyday things happening to everyday people, and that makes some of the antics they get up to all the more hilarious. The ability to feel so close to these characters and their lives makes the movie overflow with so much more love, passion and joy. 

Their love feels real and authentic. It isn’t outlandish or overly optimistic, as it’s grounded in understanding and hope. It’s also just beginning. The entire film is about them meeting, discovering that they have this connection and beginning to explore it. The movie doesn’t end with a guarantee that they’ll stay together forever, but rather that they are going to give their all into this relationship. That’s how life is, too — there is no guarantee in a relationship, and all you can do is trust in the other person and give it your all. 

With “Rye Lane,” there is this kind of rawness with this return to old-school rom-com, where everyone is a bit awkward and a bit of a mess. No one is necessarily perfectly traditionally beautiful, but is instead made more beautiful and wonderful by the wholeness of who they are. The leads are lesser-known actors — who I now want to see in everything. The story is full of wit and spunk and manages to convey love and grand gestures without moving outside the realm of possibility.

I truly cannot say enough about how wonderful this film is. As someone who grew up watching lots of rom-coms, watching this film gave me a kind of hope that many others don’t. Dom and Yas are so real. Their lives and situations are so relatable that it feels like this type of love is possible for everyone. There’s no kind of magic or time travel involved, no competing businesses and no crazy bet. Instead, there are just two people meeting, connecting and starting to fall in love. 

This film is such a bright wonderful glimmer of hope about connection, love and even just a person’s capacity for joy. When Dom is first shown, he’s crying in the bathroom about his ex. At the end of the film, he’s kissing Yas with a bright smile on his face. There’s this kind of turning for him, this joy that he didn’t expect to find, and that’s really beautiful. 

Similarly, Yas has recently been dumped by her ex and is trying to move on, while also dealing with significant job anxiety. Yet, in the end, she gets a design job for a small-budget film and begins to find love with Dom. 

This is a film built around both the beauty and the pain that people can offer each other. It depicts the previous wounds inflicted by love through Yas and Dom’s respective exes, but it also offers a kind of hope through love with Yas and Dom’s newfound relationship. There is pain in love, but there is also so much hope and joy, and this film is an incredible reminder of the light that love can bring.