Saturday 4 April 2020

Movie Review: Love, Rosie (2014)

A romance with tinges of both humour and drama, Love, Rosie explores an elusive love between two life-long friends.

In England, Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin) have been best friends since childhood. Grounded and perfectly matched, they both have deeper feelings for each other but cannot properly express them. In the final year of school, Alex finds a girlfriend in the conceited Bethany (Suki Waterhouse), while Rosie has a clumsy one-night stand with jock Greg (Christian Cooke).

She ends up pregnant, disrupting her plans to attend college in Boston, where Alex pursues a medical education and finds a new live-in girlfriend. They stay in touch but apart, never quite connecting at the right time in their lives, as Greg re-enters Rosie's life and Alex has to deal with a pregnancy of his own.

A winning Lily Collins performance enlivens a sweet romance spanning over a decade between two souls stumbling in pursuit of fulfilment. Not quite a romantic comedy nor a drama, Love, Rosie strikes its own tone with a middle ground of pragmatism, director Christian Ditter and writer Juliette Towhidi allowing the obstacles of life to speak for themselves.

Setting the film apart is an absence of dumb decisions that often beset star-crossed lovers. Rosie and Alex are weighed down by their childhood pre-adolescent friendship, and find it naturally difficult to cross the threshold into purposeful adult lovers. From that foundation all their choices make sense as they set out into the world looking for an alternative, good-enough, match.

Physically separated by an ocean and emotionally in different places, the film captures the threat of erosion that can beset the closest friendships. Alex finds a succession of icy women brimming with ego and style instead of practical substance, and Rosie is preoccupied first with a baby then Greg's return offering the promise of stable fatherhood to young Katie.

Sam Claflin's Alex channels a young Hugh Grant. His rather truncated arc gives way to decent subplots favouring Rosie's evolution, including her dream to enter the hotel business and daughter Katie following in her mother's footsteps.

Rosie and Alex mature as people but still encounter more hurdles to happiness, and Towhidi does throw at least one curve too many at the would-be lovers as the years pass by. Love, Rosie could have been 10 minutes shorter, but is otherwise a romance well earned.

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