Film Review: ‘Love, Rosie’

Etching another notch on the bedpost of the already crowded will they/won’t they? vein of romantic comedy, Love, Rosie (2014) boasts a fresh-faced cast whose star power will inevitably be bolstered by appearing in this heinious exercise in ignoble triviality. Directed by Christian Ditter and adapted from Cecelia Ahern’s 2004 novel Where Rainbows End, Love, Rosie is ostensibly the iPhone generation’s When Harry Met Sally (1989) – a saccharin-drenched drama that rarely merits the chemistry its central cast ably displays. The film sees Lily Collins plays the titular Rosie opposite Sam Claflin’s Alex, two best friends who’ve grown up together side by side.

Their friendship has seen the pair through wistful childhoods and an adolescence peppered with the usual trappings of confusion and sexual endeavours. Vowing to leave England and embark on new lives together in Boston – where they plan to study their respective passions – events inevitably contrive to scupper their relationship. Rosie falls pregnant after a bawdy prom night tryst with a coveted stud, and Alex earns a scholarship at Harvard. Throughout a twelve-year narrative timeframe, Rosie and Alex’s lives continue to intertwine and gestate, weathering single motherhood, marriage, divorce and all the emotional baggage that lies in between. What remains a constant, however, is their clear devotion to each other, a devotion that may just be the vital ingredient missing from their fragmentary relationship.

Mimicking almost verbatim the plot fluctuations of David Nicholls’ 2009 novel One Day (itself modified for the screen by Lone Scherfig in 2011), Love, Rosie is an uninventive adaptation that revels in base-level humour. Opening with one of many on-the-nose musical cues – “What do you get when you fall in love?” Ditter’s cliché ridden romantic comedy lacks subtlety. Unlike other comparable films, which attempt to ground their engineered travails into a version of reality, Juliette Towhidi’s screenplay paints a world of almost unnatural idyllic wish-fulfilment, where monetary concerns are non-existent and nuptials and life commitments are disregarded with little consequence. Ultimately this dampens any dramatic tension this inherently predictable story has, overlaid, as it is, with unruly tonal shifts and gross-out humour. Boasting enough visual flash and contemporary zing with a poptastic soundtrack, and mostly managing to avoid the groan-worthy pitfalls of another of Ahern’s book-to-film adaptations – PS, I Love You (2007) Love, Rosie is an overtly idealistic film with the easily pleased locked squarely in its sights.

Edward Frost @Frost_Ed