LOVE, ROSIE

Reviewed by GREG KING

Director: Christian Dittner

Stars: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Jaime Winstone, Tamsin Egerton, Suki Waterhouse, Christian Cooke.

This is another of those sweet and predictable romantic comedies – like When Harry Met Sally, Four Weddings And A Funeral, Serendipity, etc – where it is obvious that the two characters should be together, but the film follows a long and teasing will they or won’t they structure before reaching a satisfactory conclusion. But somehow Love, Rosie lacks the spark and the genuine humour of those crowd pleasing romcoms written by Richard Curtis (Love, Actually, etc).

Since the age of five, Rosie (played by Lily Collins, the daughter of Genesis drummer Phil Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin, from The Hunger Games trilogy, etc) have been best friends and soul mates who share similar sensibilities. But while their relationship has been strictly platonic, it is obvious that they would make a great couple. But then circumstances and bad timing conspire to keep them apart and thrust them into the arms of other partners.

Alex receives a scholarship to Harvard to study medicine. During their high school graduation ball, Rosie sleeps with Greg (Christian Cooke), the cad who takes her virginity and, thanks to an accident with a condom, leaves her pregnant. While Alex heads off to the States Rosie concocts a series of lies to conceal her pregnancy from him. This is the first in a series of implausible plot devices within the film, as Rosie lives just across the road from Alex’s family.

In America, Alex falls into a relationship with Sally (Tamsin Egerton), who becomes increasingly shrewish and demanding. And he later reconnects with Brittany (Suki Waterhouse), a former schoolfriend who has now become a famous supermodel.

The film follows the couple and their various romantic entanglements and emotional baggage over the course of twelve years, but the pair always have the feeling that there is something unresolved about their relationship. Given the time span of the film, there is something episodic about its structure.

Love, Rosie has been written by Juliette Towhidi (Calendar Girls, etc) and based on Cecilia Ahern’s popular novel Where Rainbows End, with its familiar boy meets girl formula, and it ticks off just about every cliche along the way. German director Christian Dittner, who is better known for his family friendly films like 2006’s French For Beginners, tones down the more saccharine elements and keeps things moving along at an amiable pace. As with most similar British romcoms the whole thing is appealingly light and fluffy and oh so middle class.

But while there are some quirky touches to the material, there is a distinct lack of flair to proceedings. There are some darker touches, and some unexpectedly raunchy elements to the material as well. Despite its English and American setting, Love, Rosie was shot in Ireland, and cinematographer Christian Rein has bathed the film in warm colours and an autumnal palette.

The two leads are satisfactory and their likeable performances make the journey enjoyable. They also develop an easy going chemistry that lifts the material. Collins has a perky and genial presence and brings a playful quality to her performance as the generally upbeat Rosie. She also displays a good affinity for some physical comedy. Rising star Claflin is easy on the eye and has an affable presence as the lovelorn doofus who is too blind to see what is obvious to just about everyone else. He delivers a nice performance, even though his character goes missing for much of the time.

One of the best performances comes from Jaime Winstone who plays Rosie’s sharp tongued and acerbic best friend Ruby, who is brutally honest in her opinions. It is a cliched character, but somehow her presence adds some much needed spark to the formulaic developments.

The film has a great soundtrack that includes Salt-N-Pepa, Elton John, and three songs from Lily Allen, which underscore the emotion of several key scenes. Love, Rosie is another of those romantic comedies that makes for a perfect Saturday night date movie.

★★★

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