Adapted from Cecelia Ahern’s novel, Love, Rosie treads a similar path as the author’s first hit P.S I Love You. The story follows two childhood best friends whose ‘love feelings’ start to develop around Rosie’s 18th birthday, but due to a drunken kiss, forgetfulness and the fact it’s a romantic comedy (drama?), a chain of disastrous circumstances follow, preventing the couple from getting together.
Love, Rosie feels like it hasn’t quite translated successfully onto the screen, in both practical and stylistic ways. Lily Collins (Snow White) and Sam Claflin (The Riot Club) are likeable as the leads, Rosie and Alex, but due to the story spanning over 15 years it was impossible to believe that either of them had experienced marriages, divorces or children, especially since they only looked like they’d had a haircut since the opening scene. Normally, the plausibility of a romantic comedy is not an issue but when it tries to handle subjects such as teenage pregnancy, single motherhood and loveless marriages and all you can see are two teenagers, it does start to fall a little flat. This is where the novel may have been more successful, however the actors did add charisma to their formulaic roles. Collins is charming and funny even if she does look the same age as her 12-year-old daughter and Claflin is handsome and brooding. Jaime Winstone plays the compulsory funny, down-to-earth best friend with absolutely no backstory and Tamsin Egerton (St Trinian’s) turns up as Alex’s New York socialite girlfriend who almost becomes another obstacle for our young couple, before she conveniently turns out to be a controlling adulterer.
Moving away from the interesting casting, the story itself is farfetched and repetitive, after all there are only so many times Sam Claflin can walk dramatically into a room with a bewildered squint, and for us to believe this will change the course of events. This is the second flaw of the film, its attempts to be earnest are contradicted by its contrived, satisfying resolutions. Despite the problematic plot, the script contains some good one-off gags (a humorous loss of virginity scene stands out), its dialogue jumps between laugh-out-loud one-liners and uncomfortably cringey clichés. The film is enjoyably quirky, the visual style and soundtrack are above your average RomCom, but when compared to films of the same genre and similar subject matter: teenage pregnancy in Juno; the friendship saga, will they/won’t they of When Harry Met Sally, Love, Rosie lacks the individual charm and strength to make it stand out. It couldn’t quite decide what it wanted to be, and thus became slightly throwaway.
In terms of expanding beyond the genre’s formula, which is presumably what its peculiar plot was trying to do, it was successful to an extent. There was not a boring moment and the actors as an ensemble had good chemistry but overall it tried too hard to cover too much, which may be due to it being an adaptation but even so left it weak. There was strong sense of humour at times, but occasionally it was difficult to tell whether the laughter was aimed at the jokes or the film and it did begin to take itself too seriously. While the cast give good performances, they simply look ten years too young and the film never embraced the silliness. Still, it remains a satisfying albeit disposable flick.