Rye Lane Movie Review: A Delightfully Innocent Trip to London Breathes New Life Into Romantic Comedy Films

Rye Lane is Directed by Raine Allen-Miller and Stars David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah

Rye Lane movie from 2023 Sundance film festival
Rye Lane

Few films in 2023 will reach the peaceful bliss that Hulu’s newest streamer Rye Lane does, a movie about two lost twenty-somethings recovering from painful breakups over the span of one eventful afternoon in South London. Told through an episodic lens that depicts the steps from heartbreak to a restored faith in relationships, Rye Lane is a cheerful reimagining of the romantic comedy.

It makes sense considering Rye Lane premiered at this year’s Sundance film festival. Generally speaking, many of the festival’s offerings are independent projects looking for distribution. They tend to strive for the broadest audiences possible, and in turn the stakes are relatively low in their movies. This isn’t a bad label for the festival because it’s worked in years past with films like Palm Springs, The Last Black Man in San Francisco, and Oscar-winning CODA. There’s a connection in tone and energy between these films that make them easy on the senses and occasionally punishing on the heart.

Rye Lane fits snug into this subgenre of Sundance. It’s incredibly pleasant and twee from the opening moments, even if those moments involve a poor soul crying in the stall of the gender-fluid bathroom in a local London art gallery. Dom (played by the affecting and floaty David Jonsson) is struggling after his surprise separation from then-girlfriend Gia after finding out she was seeing his best friend Eric. He’s consoled in the bathroom and around the exhibits by fellow breakup-stricken Yas (Vivian Oparah, bouncing effortlessly off her screen partners for the entirety of the film’s swift 82 minutes).

The two then spend the day perusing around the streets of South London and concocting plans to revitalize their own beliefs in love, while also getting back at their exes. The movie never takes itself too seriously and always stays in this pocket of lovely, vibrant exuberance. It’s as if the concept of a “meet-cute” scene was drawn out over the entirety of a feature-length film. Rye Lane cuts its own lane early on and never veers off course.

The individual events are fun and uncomplicated to follow, from Dom and Yas meeting Dom’s ex at a local diner (where we get to meet the scene-stealing meathead Eric, played by Benjamin Sarpong-Bro) to the duo attempting to steal back Yas’ copy of The Low End Theory from her ex’s apartment building. Each scene floats into the next with ease and rarely feels odd our out of place.

Rye Lane has the idiosyncrasies that I look for in movies and it helps it stand apart from the sea of *things* you can find to watch at your fingertips whenever you please. Put “not waving back to tourists on boats is a red flag” and the aptly titled “Love Guac’tually” up there with the taxes and laundry tearjerker from Everything Everywhere All at Once and Eduardo’s shares getting diluted from The Social Network. There are so many sublimely funny and distinct moments in Rye Lane that I haven’t seen in other movies.

Reviews for Films like Rye Lane (2023)

Yet I wouldn’t be surprised if some folks left Rye Lane feeling like the movie is a bit too kitschy or overly sentimental for its own good. It’s almost too sweet and loving for its own good, as if the movie is trying to parody itself by the end or commit real hard to the bit. The obvious movie to compare Rye Lane to, although it might be big shoes to fill considering the awards prospects, is the aforementioned CODA for their abilities to sweep you into a story you know the beats of around every corner. Rye Lane isn’t ashamed that it’s leading to an obvious ending point from the very beginning.

And CODA has a final set piece that lands in the pantheon of 2020s conclusions. Rye Lane doesn’t have that neat bow at the end that distributes the same punch that CODA has. For as much as I liked my time watching Rye Lane, I’m not sure I need to rewatch Rye Lane anytime soon. I know that rewatchability and longevity isn’t everything, but I do think it means something. With that being said, the movie is only 82 minutes long and I could easily have it on in the background someday. It feels ripe for passive viewing on rewatches after you’ve seen how it all plays out.

Rye Lane works and achieves exactly what it sets out to do. First time director Raine Allen-Miller has a pulse on this colorful and bright story from the beginning, and it rarely slips in quality from stop to stop. It’s brisk and cheerful and one of the better movies I’ve seen from this year’s batch of Sundance releases.


Genre: Comedy, Romance

Watch Rye Lane on Hulu

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Rye Lane Movie Cast and Credits

Rye lane movie review and cast. The review includes the crew and actors inviolved.


David Jonsson as Dom

Vivian Oparah as Yas

Karene Peter as Gia

Benjamin Sarpong-Bro as Eric

Simon Manyonda as Nathan

Poppy Allen-Quarm as Cass


Director: Raine Allen-Miller

Writers: Nathan Bryon, Tom Melia

Cinematography: Olan Collardy

Editor: Victoria Boydell

Composer: Kwes

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