Yas is similarly freshly on the outs with her ex-boyfriend, a pretentious killjoy artist. His self-absorption is evident in both his refusal to wave back at tourists and how he spitefully holds her precious copy of The Low End Theory (which he doesn’t even enjoy) hostage post-breakup.
Amidst strolls through London, breaking and entering, and a dicey cookout, “Rye Lane” is a lesson in chemistry, outlined with cheeky charm and heart-swelling empathy. Punchy, quick-witted dialogue and the ironies of youthful romance bring humor to the fore naturally. Laughs are not begged for, and the banter between Jonsonn and Oparah is authentic.
“Rye Lane” is a quirky, almost psychedelic day in the life of the couple and their community; a showcase of the birth of romance projected in full spectrum color. From its costuming to neon lighting to the stunning saturation of everyday markets and spaces, the film is marked by a characteristic vibrancy and ultra-wide angles. It’s kinetic filmmaking at its finest.
The soundtrack is yet another expertly executed detail that colors the world of Dom and Yas. With hip-hop throwbacks like Salt-N-Pepa’s “Shoop” and tracks by some of South London’s own (Stormzy and Sampha, to name a couple), there’s no corner of the film untouched by love and culture.
However, “Rye Lane” always comes back to the leads. Jonsson pulls at the corners of your cheeks with his charm. He’s funny and heartwarming, and his pain as a jilted lover hits with the same impact as his flirtatious smirks. The young actor skillfully balances a full range of emotions on Dom’s journey with believable transitions. We meet him with swollen eyes and follow him into goofy laughs, pained hesitations, and hopeful leaps. Jonsson is the film’s emotional center, equal parts cheeky and poignant.
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