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Film review: LOVE ROSIE, from Built For Speed

Love, Rosie at first seems to be just another cute, fluffy British (or more accurately Irish) rom-com full of unrealistically pretty people enjoying idealised twenty-something lifestyles.  As we have seen, though, with Studio Canal films such as the similarly named Love, Actually, these types of movies have a sneaky way of seducing audiences with their romantic fantasy world.

This film pursues a familiar Studio Canal theme in which male and female friends build a relationship around awkwardly supressed romantic feelings.  Lily Collins, plays Rosie Dunne who, since the age of five, has been best friends with Alex (Sam Claflin).  Although it’s clear they have deeper feelings for each other they seem content to keep their relationship platonic as they head into the final years of school.  When Rosie unexpectedly falls pregnant to the sleazy Greg (Christian Cooke) and Alex heads to the US to study medicine, they temporarily drift apart.  As the film follows their lives over the next 15 years, though, there’s an ever-present feeling of something unresolved between them.

Anyone who has seen a rom-com in the last 30 years will know exactly how this film will end and pretty much every step along the way.  Still, the film compensates for its predictability with a spunky central performance from Collins whose cuteness, charm and gift for quirky comedy recall Audrey Hepburn.  Claflin who looks a little like a young, blonde Hugh Grant is appropriately likeable as Alex but less impressive than Collins as he comes across as too much of a goofball.  The supporting characters, particularly the partners with whom Rosie and Alex find themselves are disappointingly one-dimensional neurotics and scumbags. The exception is Jaime Winston who delivers a sassy turn as Lily’s no nonsense friend Ruby. 

Like many rom-coms Love, Rosie is set in attractive, idealised, upmarket versions of England and the US.  It also renders Rosie’s world in a reassuringly warm, Autumnal palette courtesy of  Christian Rein’s red-tinged, soft-focus cinematography.  Still, the film has a believable matter-of-fact tone and welcome moments of grubbiness such as Rosie having an alarming experience with rogue condom.  The film is also driven by some fine music including songs by Elliot Smith.

As a comedy it’s mostly tepid and certainly falls well short of the inspired silliness of a similarly-themed film like Bridget Jones Diary but there are a few genuinely funny moments revolving around Rosie’s stereotypically British awkwardness.

Love, Rosie is hardly ground-breaking and probably only qualifies as a mid-ranking Studio Canal film but it’s less cheesy and a little more gritty than expected and Lily Collins’ delightful performance helps us glide over some slow and uninspired sequences.

Nick’s rating: ***.

Genre: Romantic comedy.

Classification: M.

Director(s): Christian Ditter.

Release date: 6th Nov 2014

Running time: 102 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast. http://subcultureentertainment.com/2014/02/the-good-the-bad-the-ugly-film-show 

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