The Image of You (2024)

The Image of You Review

The Image of You

The Image of You opens with Anna and Zoe Mercer (Sasha Pieterse). They’re not just twin sisters, they’re Monoamniotic-Monochorionic twin sisters. The film tells us only 1% of all twin pregnancies are Monoamniotic twins. Similarly rare, perhaps, is a movie like The Image of You that walks the line between ‘painfully cliché’ and ‘utterly ridiculous’ so easily. If the film were a child, then Gone Girl and Dead Ringer might have been its parents, who clearly didn’t quit smoking and drinking during pregnancy.

Ana is the good girl twin while Zoe is the impulsive hedonist twin. Both girls have part-time jobs (the Community Resource Center for Ana, acting and modelling for Zoe) yet somehow they live lavishly thanks to their inexplicably rich parents David and Alexia (Nestor Carbonell and Mira Sorvino, respectively). Ana is earnestly seeking love on dating apps while Zoe mocks her naiveté. Despite everything even Zoe’s personality the two sisters are inseparable. Even Alexia has accepted that her daughters are closer to each other than they will ever be to her.

Early in the movie, Ana goes on a date with Nick (Parker Young), an attractive investment banker who seems like a perfect match for her if only because of how bland and awkward he is. Both Ana and Nick are one-note characters. She is sweet (a few side characters exist solely to tell us she’s the nicest person they’ve ever met), and he’s supposed to be charming but really just comes off as dim. The film wants us to see these two as perfect for each other so very badly (their fast-moving romance somehow reaches “I love you” before it reaches “do you like rom-coms?”) that they get engaged after knowing each other for only six weeks. The love story, as written and acted, creaks along in a way that would be laughable on the Hallmark Channel. No amount of sweeping shots, montages and split-screen transitions can save the film from its paint-by-numbers romance.

But Zoe isn’t accounted for in their love story. She’s wary of Nick from the start, and with good reason. For one thing, he uses his middle name instead of his first name on dating apps. He argues that he doesn’t want to be recognized by his friends (conveniently forgetting they’ll see his actual face in the pictures). She spies on Ana’s first date with him, she confronts Ana at work and she voices her concerns to their mother. She also chooses not to meet Nick when she brings her new fiancé around much to Ana’s chagrin. However, she does eventually meet him but neither of them expect how that meeting will go down. And then it swings into gear with a thriller-mystery aspect I didn’t anticipate from there

It will definitely be good news to many people that the movie does get better after the first act, but others are likely to say that the rest is equally as disappointing. This film is based on a book by Adele Parks MBE, and only those who have read it will know how closely it sticks to her original story. However, as a thriller in its own right, it doesn’t provide any new clues, the frantic search for truth or hiding of shameful secrets, shocking revelations and consequent fallout etc. If you’ve seen more than about ten of these things then by around half way through this one you’ll probably be able to guess where it’s going.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t have fun watching it. There are a few little bright spots here and there; Michele Nordin gives Nick’s sister Rebecca a fairly realistic response when she finds out he’s engaged to someone he met six weeks ago. Zoe has a genuinely funny bit where she tears into Nick’s dating profile. In fact Pieterse does quite well playing twins considering how much pigeonholing the screenplay does with her character(s). As you might expect Zoe gets all of the range/ better lines/ better scenes.

And regardless of whether or not it may be predictable, let me tell ya sis this movie plants its big twist like an oak tree in your backyard even while you’re laughing at some of the hackier bits.

One of these “what did I just watch” type films that only gets more bearable or rather entertaining as it gets more ridiculous. The performers start out stilted and clunky but grow into their roles over time (and embrace the hyperbole), and Jeff Fisher must have known what kind of film he was making. When Zoe gets to make an entrance we’re supposed to find sexy, he cuts to several guys staring at her before getting told off by their dates. He uses a zoom-up shot when a character finds out the twist, and the soundtrack is stocked with songs that are so on-the-nose the movie comes close to parody. If you can power through the cringey first act then there’s a movie on the other side that knows exactly which audience expectations it wants to meet.

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