Starring: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Jaime Winstone
Director: Christian Ditter
Running Time: 102 mins
Love, Rosie is a British film about Rosie and Alex, who have been best friends since childhood. However, Rosie’s unexpected pregnancy and Alex’s acceptance to a US university causes them to grow further apart over the course of their 20s.
I’ve seen a lot of romantic comedies, and I know from experience that the best ones embrace both sides of of the genre, and make an energetic and enjoyable watch. However, Love Rosie is an example of a rom-com that doesn’t balance comedy and romance well, and although provides some entertainment at moments, is far too often excessively sappy and cheesy when it could have been a lot more enjoyable and interesting.
But before that, let’s start with on the bright side, particularly with the film’s first act. I may not have loved the film come the end of 102 minutes, but there’s no doubt at how good this is at pulling you in right from the start. The first act centres on establishing Rosie and Alex’s childhood friendship, and then sets about ripping it apart in a series of both emotional and comical episodes.
For the best part of half an hour, I was laughing like mad at some insanely funny gags, whilst also surprisingly being pulled into the emotion of watching these two old friends grow apart, even if neither of them really want it. In the first act, the writing, directing and acting was all excellent, and it really made for an engaging opening to the film that set me up in a positive mood for the rest.
However, that’s where things begin to fall apart. Despite feeling a degree of emotional impact surrounding the collapse of their strong bond, I felt that director Christian Ditter struggled to keep that side of the story relevant, and too often fell into typical chick flick tropes – centring more on the fact that the two have always had feelings for one another rather than re-emphasising the emotional turmoil of not being together.
It was also at this point that the film really lost its comedic prowess. Normally, in a romance film, I’ll accept a reduction in silliness and farce if it’s replaced by an emotionally effective story, but as I said above, that didn’t happen in Love Rosie, and that’s why I really missed the excellent humour of the first act. By the end, this film takes itself far too seriously for how it started out, feeling too much like The Notebook rather than having its own identity as a lighter and happier film that still holds emotional power, which was a shame to see.
I was therefore disappointed with Ditter’s failure to make this film a memorable member of the genre, but I was glad to at least see that the lead performances didn’t go totally the same way. In the film’s weakest moments (and there really are some), the actors can’t do much to prevent the cheesiness, but when the film rests on the emotion of its characters’ relationships, lead performers Lily Collins and Sam Claflin do an excellent job, with great chemistry and energy that make their characters far more interesting than I anticipated.
Overall, I was disappointed by Love Rosie. The rom-com genre isn’t one that always puts out classics, but given the brilliantly funny and emotionally impressive opening act, I expected more from this film that to fall into a typical chick flick formula with little to set it apart from the crowd, and that’s why it gets a 7.2 from me.