Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin) have been friends since they were 5 years old, and have gotten up to all the usual childhood antics together – passing notes in class and eating them to avoid getting caught, blanket forts, sneaky MSN chats in class, you get the picture. As they get older, graduate high school and come of age, romance becomes an increasingly important topic amongst their friends, but they always maintain they are just friends. Of course, we, the audience, know that isn’t true, that they’ve been not-so-secretly pining after each other for years, only they just don’t realise it, with something, be it unplanned pregnancy, affairs, bad marriages, or different continents, always getting in the way. Sound familiar yet? It should. Love, Rosie follows the rom-com formula outlined in this hilarious graphic to a tee, with themes found in every film from When Harry Met Sally to 27 Dresses.
Despite this, Love, Rosie, drenched in vibrant primary colours, is, regardless of sometimes much too literal direction (see: the use of Salt n’ Pepa’s Push It during a birth scene), predictability, and the worst fake baby bump ever, is a surprisingly enjoyable watch. Collins (who doesn’t pass for 30 in any reality), screwball enough to pull of ‘oops!’ moments, no matter how lame, and elicit a laugh from the audience, has excellent, magnetic charisma to carry a leading role. Her purely charming performance is supported by an equally great Claflin, and, together, they have wonderfully enjoyable chemistry.
Collins and Claflin are directed by German comedy helmer Christian Ditter, in his English language debut, with the story adapted from the cringingly titled Cecilia Ahern novel Where Rainbows End by Calendar Girls scribe Juliette Towhidi. Thankfully, from the light touch of both Ditter and Towhidi, despite the temptation to go full-blown, melodramatic teen angst, the film stays with its feet firmly on the ground, opting to portray events keeping Rosie and Alex apart as the minor set backs they are, instead of earth-shattering crises. This proves invaluable, decreasing the amount of cringe-inducing unevenness often found in romantic films that flip-flop between comedy and wannabe-serious melodrama.
It may not be intoxicating or atmospheric enough to be dizzyingly hypnotic, but Love, Rosie is blissfully girly and giggly, leaping off the screen with hug-like warmth that is near irresistibly charming and fast-paced. It’s too winsome to be the raunchy sex farce as a handful of scenes (including a hilariously uncomfortable sex scene and aftermath) want it to be and filled with, at times, incredibly ridiculous scenes in between standard rom-com/teen movie fare (including annoying younger brothers and well-heeled 20-somethings with Boston apartments), so much so that you can run the film through a checklist:
Quirky best friend? CHECK
Realisation spelt out by said quirky friend? CHECK
Indie soundtrack? Check
Yeah, I’ve seen this film, of roads not taken and blindingly obvious facts, many times before. I tried to resist Love, Rosie‘s oddly nostalgic charms (it has a particularly excellent, if at sometimes intrusive, soundtrack. I was fully expecting the SClub7 music to be busted out), but ultimately, this energetic, snappily edited, entertaining, and oh so adorable, easy watch had me completely in the palm of its’ hand. A perfect escape for 90 minutes.
P.S. Number of films with my lamp in it? 3