Making a romantic comedy can be a tricky proposition for film makers. There are certain conventions that audiences have come to expect and this tends to colour their attitude and support of a new film. The problem in making them is trying to come up with the element of difference so that the film stands out but is still accessible to the audience. With Love, Rosie the producers took the decision to render it a little more adult in terms of theme and content. This can be a risk as it can send a signal to the potential audience that this may not be the light, escapist fun that they are expecting.
The film tracks the relationship between two people from their last year in high school until their early thirties. Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex(Sam Claflin) are the best of friends. They have been inseparable since they were young children. As they prepare for their life after school things really start to change. There is an obvious depth of feeling between them, but they are reluctant to take it any further in case it ruins their friendship. For them, the consequences could be too great. At the end of term dance several major things happen. Rosie has a condom malfunction with her boyfriend and Alex ends up with the hottest girl in the school. The outcome of these events is that their lives start to diverge. Alex heads off to the USA to pursue his studies while Rosie is facing an uncertain future as a single mother.
It is the central performance from Lily Collins that keeps the film together. She needs to be able to age from seventeen to about thirty five during the course of the story. This is in part done through the usual way with hair, makeup and clothing choices. What she adds is the changing perspective and attitudes that growing up forces upon some people. At first, she is pretty carefree in her attitude towards life. At her eighteenth birthday, she gets into such a state which requires a hospital visit (thankfully an off screen moment). As circumstances change so does the performance. Forced responsibility and a small child mean life is suddenly more serious. The changes never feel forced or false in Collins performance of Rosie growing up.
With a performance that dominates the film, the male lead and the supporting cast are forced into the background. Sam Claflin as Alex is good but is rarely asked to carry a scene. Christian Cooke as the father of Rosie’s child is a little bit of a caricature. He starts off as a nice looking, somewhat shallow boy who never really changes as he ages. There is little for the actor to get a handle on to make the character more interesting.
The story unfolds in a linear fashion with the occasional flashback. The film starts with the technique but wisely it is not overused in the rest of the movie. The scene sets up the story very nicely and provides a bit of a mystery to the audience at the same time. From there, the story is split into specific time periods in Rosie’s life. Using this approach allows the film makers to avoid the overused montage scene to represent the passing of time.
As noted earlier, the film has a good deal of adult content that raises the BBFC rating to a 15 certificate. The addition of this type of humour does not appear to out of place or tacked on for effect. The film actually benefits from its inclusion. It was somewhat unexpected but most welcome.
The major theme of the film is how we deal with the process of developing and maturing. Relationships form the main part of growing up and it is depicted here as the interactions between the two leads. The question that the audience is asked regards whether a friendship can survive when people change, grow and want more from others. Family relationships are explored with the part that parents have in the lives of their children as youngsters through to adulthood. As Rosie starts her own family, we see the ways the ways in which her parents react to the situation and how that in turn reflects in Rosie’s relationship with her own child.
Overall, a rather enjoyable film that has a terrific central performance from an up and coming actor. Recommended.