Love, Rosie

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Rating: ****(out of five stars)
Length: 102 mins
Director: Christian Ditter
Cast: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Suki Waterhouse, Tamsin Egerton, Art Parkinson, Jaime Winstone
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The Plot: Childhood neighbours Rosie (Collins) and Alex (Claflin) have been best friends since they were five years old. Missed opportunities and life’s choices see their friendship weather a journey across time, distance and stages of maturity. Will they find their way back to one another?

IN a genre that has been in a big fat slump of late, Love, Rosie — a film adaptation of famed Irish author Cecelia Ahern’s, second novel Where Rainbows End — cuts through the drought of romantic comedy and ushers in a bout of spring.

The premise seems typical enough — best friends that navigate the possibility of becoming lovers, where the ending is already almost certain. But it is in the journey that Love, Rosie excelled with much wit, sufficient modern realism and fun, amidst the necessary sheen of romance.

Here the ambience perfectly sets the scene right down to a scenic cliff-side inn on the outskirts of Dublin, Ireland, not to mention the most idyllic looking tiny flat possible ever seen above an Indian curry shop.

The winning combination here is the easy chemistry between Collins and Claflin, lending the film the connection needed to convince the audience. At once kooky, daft and somehow wise beyond her years, Collins is a pleasure to watch on screen. Her sincere performance has a woman who makes some of the stupidest decisions in life manages stay believably endearing and human.

In his first romantic lead role after a string of action films — Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013) — Claflin does decently well in not becoming just eye-candy. Despite noticeably less character development for Claflin’s Alex, who ends up with a puppy-eyed look at Rosie in much of the film, Claflin — who seems to resemble a young Hugh Grant, albeit less fumbling and better looking — has his moments.

Credit must go to the screenwriter, Juliette Towhidi (Calender Girls), who fleshed out and crafted the lives of Rosie and Alex from just a series of letters, mobile phone texts and emails that form the entire 2004 novel by Ahern.

Between the script and young German director Christian Ditter’s commendable effort, you willingly get strung along by Love, Rosie’s cleverly contrived journey of laughter and heart-warming tears as you watch them organically mature, believe their multiple “badly timed” missed opportunities, and enjoy and envy their camaraderie so much that you don’t get too irritated by the flaws.

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This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 24, 2014.