Director: Christian Ditter
Cast: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Suki Waterhouse, Christian Cooke, Tamsin Egerton
RunTime: 1 hr 43 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual Scene and Some Coarse Language)
Released By: Shaw
Opening Day: 30 October 2014
Synopsis: Rosie and Alex have been best friends since they were 5, so they couldn’t possibly be right for one another...or could they? When it comes to love, life and making the right choices, these two are their own worst enemies. One awkward turn at 18, one missed opportunity...and life sends them hurling in different directions. But somehow, across time, space and different continents, the tie that binds them cannot be undone – despite unwanted pregnancies, disastrous love affairs, marriage, infidelity and divorce. Will they find their way back to one another, or will it be too late? Based on Cecelia Ahern’s bestselling novel “Where Rainbows End”, LOVE, ROSIE is a sassy, heart-warming, and utterly modern comedy-of-errors tale posing the ultimate question: Do we really only get one shot at true love?
Will they? Won’t they? That’s the question that lies at the heart of ‘Love, Rosie’, a flighty rom-com based on Cecilia Ahern’s 2004 novel ‘Where Rainbows End’. Our lovebirds are Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin), two inseparable friends who have known each other since they were kids. Even though it isn’t plainly apparent to either of them, there is no doubt in our minds that they are in love with each other, so all that matters is whether they will recognise their feelings for each other and whether they will eventually be lucky enough to get together.
As mawkish and predictable as it may be, such films succeed or fail on the basis of their audience’s investment in the primary relationship – and we are happy to say that thanks to the excellent chemistry between Collins and Claflin, it is somewhat winsome, somewhat delightful and always amiable. There is an undeniable spark that bounces off the pair whenever they share the screen together, and it is this seemingly effortless rapport between them that gives the film its heart and soul through its numerous shopworn narrative clichés.
To be fair, ‘Calendar Girls’ screenwriter Juliette Towhidi is somewhat hemmed in by her source material, and to the best of her abilities, does try to emulate Richard Curtis’ brand of Brit rom-coms by giving Rosie plenty of witty quips. Yes, it is from Rosie’s point of view that we get to see their on-off love story unfold, beginning at the point where she is just about to deliver her congratulatory speech on the occasion of Alex’s wedding and rewinding to 18 years earlier when they first shared a passionate kiss at the school prom – though as Rosie admits, she was too inebriated to remember that life-changing moment.
It is precisely on that fateful night that Rosie will lose her virginity to fellow classmate Greg (Christian Cooke), who will also end up impregnating her. Her shock is compounded by Alex’s infatuation with a shallow blonde named Bethany (Suki Waterhouse) and the reality that she will not be able to join him in America as he pursues an Ivy League education at Harvard no less. We won’t inundate you with the details, but suffice to say that what follows after is a series of bad relationships, wrong partners, missed opportunities and an increasingly elusive chance of enjoying a happily-ever-after.
In his English language debut, German helmer Christian Ditter makes no apologies for romanticising their respective circumstances. Rosie, for instance, doesn’t seem to be doing too bad for a single mother raising her daughter on a minimum wage working in a swanky hotel as a maid; nor, for that matter, is Alex’s obsessive-compulsive Type A girlfriend (Tamsin Egerton) any bit more believable. Every individual scene is calculated and played for maximum crowd-pleasing effect, set to a genial pop tune that is supposed to help us identify just what we should be feeling for the characters at that particular moment.
And yet, the clichés and contrivances do not come off ingratiating precisely because of Collins and Claflin, who anchor the film with warmth and sincerity, so much so that you’ll feel bad for dissing their characters at all. Ditter has also assembled a surprisingly effective supporting line-up – and besides Egerton as Alex’s high-maintenance fiancée, Jaime Winstone is utterly hilarious as Rosie’s best friend Ruby who is always willing to tell her the hard truth no matter how much it hurts.
Rather than get by with originality, ‘Love Rosie’ endears precisely because of its leads. To Ditter’s credit, he gets the tone of the movie right, never dwelling too much on its potentially heavy-handed moments and always keeping things light, fluffy and frothy throughout. There is also good fun in the flashback sequences, where the film’s attention to detail like the use of MSN Messenger and Nokia 3210s will surely delight those who lived and loved through that era. It may not be as witty or inventive as the best Brit rom-coms, but it is a pleasantly entertaining diversion that will leave you smiling.
(Predictable and mawkish but also winsome and delightful, this Brit rom-com is saved by the chemistry between its leads, Lily Collins and Sam Claflin)
Review by Gabriel Chong