“I know boy girl relationships can be quite complicated.”
In Love, Rosie, another entry into the long line of pleasant enough yet unremarkable RomComs, the lead characters and the story allow themselves to wallow in the real world’s insufferable fate of silence. They jettison emotions, contemplations, and even their own happiness in favor of being friends, and in the story’s perspective trying to be nice and warm and fuzzy. That’s the real shame here, because the basis of this film is incredibly authentic. This is the screen version of all those imaginary conversations we’ve all had in the shower, or during a long drive, or awake on a restless night. Like those moments, Love, Rosie has occasional charm, but is mostly a series of sorely missed opportunities.
The lovers here are Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin), lifelong neighbors and best friends through thick and thin. For all of the story’s missteps, I have to recognize the work by both of these actors, displaying an almost tangible chemistry over the period of roughly twelve years. While they never really mature and continually punish their heads and their hearts for more than a decade, the naturally winsome Collins and irresistible Claflin make a formidable, heartfelt pair. At times they make you like characters who don’t even seem to like themselves, which is both a testament to their talents and a travesty by screenwriter Juliette Towhidi’s adaptation of the novel Where Rainbows End.
Love, Rosie is not as offensive as it is infuriatingly voiceless. There are the classic scenes of prom and airport departures and awkward sexual encounters. However, there is life to this movie, mostly thanks to the leads and Director Christian Ditter, who manages to harness the honest-to-goodness connection between Collins and Claflin and inject it into the new offerings, some of which hit and miss, but are appreciated nonetheless. Similar in scope but far inferior in quality to 2011’s Like Crazy, this is a maddening, incredulously insane story of desperation and lost love that could’ve ended at the 30 minute mark with a simple five-minute (if that) conversation. Not that the movie needed to go that route, but the direction it takes us in is not believable until the end, and relents itself to being exaggerated in every area besides the leading performances. You want to love Rosie, and Alex, but I imagine few will feel a greater affectation for this film than simple admiration.
What this movie needed was less hesitance. To let the characters become one, separate, come together again, only to lose each other once more. That’s how life and its often cruel use of timing normally works. Love, Rosie lives by the George W. Cecil quote I’ve always found to be an insightful platitude. It goes, “Upon the plains of hesitation, bleach the bones of countless millions who, at the dawn of victory sat down to wait – and waiting they died.” Now, this film doesn’t just kick back and disregard quality, but it does lack the parts which make it seem like anything less than a game of M.A.S.H. gone terribly wrong. If these two are so stride for stride, as “N’ Sync” as a Justin Timberlake fronted boy band, and still can’t get it right, then there is little hope for the rest of us. Love, Rosie is a good bad movie, one with enough romance and solids laughs that should have been loved, if only it had been less a “coming of errors” story and more an appreciation of honest human connection.
“I just want to belong to someone.”
Rating: 2.5 out of 5