The contrivances of star-crossed lovers in cinema makes for compelling romantic tales, hinting at the perfect relationship we all desire and giving us a sweeping alternative to the often messy, imperfect ones we ultimately settle into. And if one does find that rare partnering, then grab it with both hands and hold onto it for dear life.
One of these relationships lies at the heart of Christian Ditter’s Love, Rosie, starring Lily Collins and Sam Claflin as Rosie and Alex, the couple who become friends as children, then spend the next twelve years or so denying their true feelings and orbiting each other’s stuttering emotions and failed relationships.
Opening during Alex’s wedding when they’re both 30 years old, Rosie stumbles through an awkward “best man” speech, then proceeds to throw herself under the covers and cry. From that explosion of pent-up girl power, the film backtracks briefly to their childhood friendship, focusing on their time together at the age of 18. Not only do Rosie and Alex have to deal with their fluttering unspoken feelings for each other, but they’re soon thrust into separate relationships which result in complicated consequences.
Eventually broken apart by school, an ocean, and adulthood, Rosie and Sam oscillate between the reality of their lives — motherhood, terrible lovers and everyday jobs — and an idealized partnership through cell phone texts and the occasional visit. Even though they understand each other’s dreams and have a shorthand in conversation, they never seem to fully express what we naturally observe between them. Now living in Boston, Alex falls into a destructive relationship with Sally (Tamsin Egerton). Back home in England, Rosie marries Greg (Christian Cooke), partially out of convenience, and struggles day-to-day as a maid at a local hotel. Years pass and the tension of if, when, and where they’ll ever consummate their cloistered emotions becomes the overriding tension within Love, Rosie.
It’s easy for a film such as this to reach and miss, substituting cloying situations and ‘sappiness’ for honest, endearing warmth. Love, Rosie does feature its share of saccharine moments, yet it maintains a grounded and genuine tone mostly through the wonderful presence of actress Lily Collins, who overshadows everything else in the film. She gives a standout performance, effortlessly projecting just the right amount of wide-eyed spunkiness that inevitably collides with the forced rigors of adulthood. It’s a precarious role that she nails and has one rooting for her the entire time.
Positioned for a release here in early February, Love Rosie, is assuredly meant to capitalize on the Valentines Day box office and it should serve as a great alternative to the more risqué fare coming soon. Regardless, its tale should be heart warming any time of the year.
The film opens at AMC Mesquite 30 on Friday, February 6.