Archives for posts with tag: sam claflin

“Spunky, badly-dressed woman teaches well-heeled man how to feel” is my least favorite genre of film, because for some reason I’m not sure it’s better to run roughshod over other people’s lives even if you do it with a smile and dumb tights.

This one is even worse than usual.

In a MV5BMTQ2NjE4NDE2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwOTcwNDE5NzE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_twist of fate, posh banker Will Traynor (Sam Claflin) wisely doesn’t take his motorcycle to work in the rain, and is hit by someone else and paralyzed. He moves back in with his parents in a tiny town, and of course his girlfriend leaves him for his best friend. He lets himself get scruffy and gets his kicks by doing a “My Left Foot” bit to unsuspecting strangers. You suspect he may have been kind of a douche all along.

His mother Camilla (Janet McTeer) is at her wits’ end, and hires as a companion a local young woman, Louisa Clark (Emilia Clarke). She has just lost her job in a café, where she is relentlessly sweet to the little old ladies who eat there. Her family is short on money, but she has an inexhaustible supply of perfectly coordinated, whimsically bright outfits, including innumerably flashy pairs of Mary Janes. Naturally, despite her humble background and her father’s unemployment and her sister’s single motherhood, she approaches all problems with boundless, uncomprehending optimism. Her boyfriend Patrick (Matthew Lewis, of Neville Longbottom + puberty = surprise fame) is a runner, and cartoonishly dense, of course.

Well, you know how this goes. Will’s parents (Charles Dance is his father) don’t know how to cope with their son’s pain and despair, because they’re rich and don’t know how to love, and are willing to take him to Dignitas after a period of adjustment. Lou, though–she and her good attitude can work wonders! Between that blind glee and the broad shoulders of the Australian physio Nate (Stephen Peacocke), they paint the town red. They even go to the ex-girlfriend’s wedding together, and have a great time. Joanna Lumley is there, for thirty seconds.

But here’s the kicker: even working-class sincerity and butterfly hair clips might not cure paraplegia. And it’s really not appealing to watch Lou lecture Will about how selfish he is when she refuses to listen to him, ever. It’s gross, in fact.

Also: women? You can have a personality and even be generous and caring while still having a grasp of reality and maybe owning a grey dress or a black pair of shoes.

Director: Thea Sharrock
Rating: PG-13
Length: 106 minutes
Score: 1/5

Am I the only person who checked out when…. [spoilers after the jump, obviously] Read the rest of this entry »

The best thing about Love, Rosie is the majesty of Lily Collins’s eyebrows. That sounds worse than it is, of course; her eyebrows are truly splendid.

The romantic comedy is an extremely formulaic genre, as we all know.  You need the quirk or insight that links the two protagonists, the bad relationships they fall into for inexplicable reasons, the odd and evidently asexual best friends of the hero and heroine…  We know this, and we generally like it.  We’re not sticklers about originality here, though we do admire when a film transcends the formula by executing these things especially well–Four Weddings and a Funeral had fully-drawn secondary characters, 10 Things I Hate About You successfully showed us how two very slightly marginalized teenagers might bond, Moonstruck had plausible doomed relationships.  Conversely, we find it frustrating when no effort is made.

Love, Rosie belongs to the romantic comedy subset of movies about how men and women can be the closest of friends, but also of course they secretly want to sleep together, but also of course are too stupid to a) say anything or b) tear off each other’s clothes. It’s less irritating than, say, One Day, because Ms. Collins actually is English, so her accent doesn’t wander aimlessly around the edges of the Atlantic, and also because she doesn’t get hit by a bus.

The formula is well known, but I will outline it for you.  Rosie (Ms. Collins) grows up with Alex (Sam Claflin) and they are best friends, as shown to us by how Alex tells Rosie his weird dreams.  The dreams are not that weird, but whatever.  They get really drunk and slightly make out when they’re eighteen; Rosie doesn’t remember, Alex does.  Thus they launch into a twelve-year series of romantic near-misses, going so far as to move in with or marry other people.  Rosie marries Greg (Christian Cooke), a cad who gets sloppily drunk at her dad’s funeral.  Alex, for his part, gets through both Sally (Tamsin Egerton) and Bethany (Suki Waterhouse).  Sally really doesn’t want to hear about his dreams (and is deranged), so we know he’s not perfect for him.  Bethany is a model, and fairly vapid, but let’s be real here: her vacuity is only there to make Rosie look better and Alex look like an idiot, which would be more effective if Rosie were actually interesting.

Neither Rosie nor Alex is at all interesting, naturally.  They are both very good-looking instead.

We’re used to this, but a little effort, please.  The secondary stuff, if you’ll believe it, gets even less attention. Rosie has no friends other than Alex, apparently, and therefore must become best friends with the apothecary’s daughter (who helpfully has literally nothing else going on in her life, for twelve years) when Alex moves to America.  Alex’s life in Boston (he goes to Harvard? for medicine? and is instantly rich? and of really indeterminate age? and at the age of 23 or so still goes to all-night college parties with heated pools and solo cups and people asking you your major? but also to art openings where he’s supposed to schmooze thoracic surgeons?) consists entirely of tense conversations with Sally.  And Sally’s brother is there, but, again, has nothing going on except the worst American accent.

All this is to say, I guess: It’s cute.  You probably won’t hate it.

Stray notes:

  • This is apparently based on a novel.  Feel free to tell me that the novel makes sense; I won’t read it.
  • Age is expressed only by haircuts, which I find amusing.

Director: Christian Ditter
Rating: R
Length: 102 min.
Score: 2/5.