I’m Obsessed with You (But You’ve Got to Leave Me Alone), the 2014 film directed by Jon Goracy, is one of several new indie films currently available for streaming on Hulu. This is an interesting, somewhat experimental movie based on a play by Genevieve Adams (who is also in the cast).
The film follows the lives of a group of college friends who meet in an improv group on a liberal arts college campus. Improv, the style of spontaneous theater where the players take suggestions from the audience, serves as the underlying theme of the entire movie. Essentially, the film is an exploration of what might happen if people refuse to acknowledge a distinction between (improve style) theater and real life.
The main rule of improve, we are reminded is to “always say yes!” As you might imagine, trying to live by this commandment could make life complicated. This concept makes for an often fascinating, though at times confusing, storyline, where it’s not always clear what is supposed to be happening and what is imagined. For example, throughout the film we hear voiceovers of (presumably hypothetical) obituaries for the characters. The film also skips around in time quite a bit. Around halfway through, it began to sink in that it would be pointless to try to see I’m Obsessed With You as having any type of conventional linear plot.
The characters, played by Adams, Rachel Broshnahan, Manish Dayal, Thomas McDonnell and Jason Ralph, get involved in a variety of romantic triangles, career related mishaps and suffer from the type of existential crises and mood disorders typical of bohemians and people who attempt to allow their lives to be dictated by art.
Movies based on plays usually tend to be dialog-heavy and this one, which is overtly about the medium of theater, is certainly no exception. Still, much of the dialogue is witty and insightful and the performances are strong. This is not a movie for everyone, but fans of improv -or anyone interested in the possibility of a life that remains true to art at all costs- should find it worthwhile.