Love, Rosie

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DIR: Christian Ditter • WRI: Juliette Towhidi, Cecelia Ahern PRO: Simon Brooks, Robert Kulzer  ED: Tony Cranstoun DES: Matthew Davies CAST: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Tamsin Egerton, Suki Waterhouse, Jaime Winstone, Christian Cooke, Art Parkinson

According to the trailer for Love, Rosie,  the film adaptation of Cecilia Ahern’s Where Rainbows End,  “sometimes you don’t see that the best thing that’s ever happened to you is right under your nose.” However, that’s surely only the case for the protagonist Rosie. Indeed, in the one and a half hours of “missed” romantic opportunities that the audience is subjected to, there’s really no doubting what the “best thing” is for Rosie. Yes, you guessed it – it’s her best-friend-that-she’s-always-been-friends-with-but-maybe-really-fancied-but-never-thought-about-it-until-it-was-too-late.

However, I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t enjoy this film. It’s no Oscar-winner, but it’s certainly a good-natured tale of romance between two very attractive protagonists – Lily Collins as Rosie and Sam Clafin as her best friend/romantic interest Alex. In fact, associating Cecilia Ahern adaptations with the incomprehensibly terrible P.S I Love You (Richard LaGravenese, 2007), which comprised of Hilary Swank wandering from Wicklow to Whelans in the blink of an eye and Gerard Butler’s heinous attempt at an Irish accent, Love, Rosie is a breath of fresh air. However, the Irish setting remains slightly problematic insofar as the two protagonists have extremely proper English accents, while it is very clear that it was filmed in Ireland.

The opening scenes of the film are perhaps the most enjoyable part. Indeed, I was suitably impressed with the film’s attempts at cringey Girls-esque body humour, in which Rosie ends up in hospital with a condom stuck in her nether regions after a night spent with school stud Greg (Christian Cooke). Despite the promise of an innovative approach to the romantic comedy with such explicit gross-out scenes, it is a pity that Love, Rosie falls into an ever-so-formulaic narrative structure.

Added to the boredom of such a formula is the fact that Rosie ends up pregnant and decides to have the baby because – even though she doesn’t believe in all “that stuff” – her parents are Catholic so of course she’s having a baby. This narrative trajectory seems a little out of character for Rosie who appears to be full of ambition, knows where she’s going in life and who ends up pregnant after a one-night stand with a guy who does a runner when she admits she’s pregnant. Anyway, she has the baby, wheareas the male protagonist is allowed to go off and fulfil his dreams in Boston. Meanwhile, Rosie becomes a cleaner.

The years go by, the protagonists don’t age except for some quick hairstyle changes, Rosie’s daughter grows up into a rather precious brat and Rosie continues to be a cleaner. The baby-daddy returns, there are many tearful moments akin to a Douglas Sirk melodrama and Rosie and Alex just can’t seem to get it together. Will love prevail throughout the years of heartbreak and missed opportunities? Can life ever be good again? I won’t ruin it for you. Everyone loves a good cliff-hanger.

 Heather Browning

15A (See IFCO for details)

102 minutes

Love, Rosie  is released 24th October 2014

Love, Rosie – Official Facebook

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Cinema Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

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DIR: Harald Zwart • WRI: Jessica Postigo •  PRO: Don Carmody, Robert Kulzer • DOP: Geir Hartly Andreassen • ED: Joel Negron • DES: François Séguin • CAST: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Jemima West

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is the latest in the seemingly unending array of young adult films adapted from successful young adult books in recent years. Ever since Harry Potter was launched onto our screens in 2001, and Warner Brothers had amazing success with the adaptation of the seven books, film producers have tried to emulate its unique success. However, that particular magic (pun intended) of the Harry Potter franchise is hard to bottle and these competing films have had varying degrees of success.

I went into The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones blind with no knowledge of the books, and at first I was a bit lost as the film jumps straight into the action and the plot moves along quite fast. However, you soon catch up and acquire enough detail of this world to understand the coming-of-age story of Clary Fray (Lily Collins). Clary is a seemingly ordinary girl living in New York whose world changes overnight when she begins to realise she isn’t as ordinary as she thought. She discovers an underworld of vampires, demons, werewolves and, the heroes of the piece, the Shadowhunters.

This type of fantasy world have been a bit overdone on TV and film in recent years and The Mortal Instruments is nothing new really. It adheres to certain stereotypes; the heroes wear copious amounts of black leather clothes (hardly the most comfortable for slaying demons), ordinary humans are seen as stupider and less brave than the Shadowhunters and the baddie (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is comically weak.

However, the actors do their best with the weak dialogue and it is an enjoyable enough film. Robert Sheehan is admirable as Clary’s ordinary best friend and he has decent chemistry with the rest of the cast. Lily Collins holds her own as the lead, but is not a patch on Jennifer Lawrence, in the superior The Hunger Games. It doesn’t help her that the dialogue between herself and her love interest Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower) is laughably bad.

Overall, the plot moves along nicely and it is a decent length, so you can enjoy this film without much knowledge of the books. This is presumably the first instalment of this six-novel franchise so there is plenty of room for development of the characters and it merely sets them up for a longer story.

Ailbhe O’ Reilly

Rated 12A (see IFCO website for details) 

129 mins
The Mortal Instruments: City of Bonesis released on 23rd August 2013

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones– Official Website

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Cinema Review: Stuck in Love

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DIR/WRI: Josh Boone • PRO: Judy Cairo • DOP: Tim Orr • ED: Robb Sullivan • DES: John Sanders • Cast: Kristen Bell, Logan Lerman, Jennifer Connelly, Lily Collins

Stuck in Love spends a year with a broken family finding their voices in a changing world. As with many indie films, they all speak as though they have all the answers, but this is no simple love story. All our characters are struggling with the very idea of love.

 

We meet Bill Borgens (Greg Kinnear), a divorced father of two, struggling to match his early writing success following his divorce from Erica (Jennifer Connolly) who, after marrying a younger man apparently still can’t decide where she wants to be.

 

Bill’s children both want to follow in his writing footsteps. His daughter, Sam (Lily Collins) is a devastatingly beautiful yet cynical-in-love young woman who finds herself publishing her first novel whilst attempting to recoil from the advances of die-hard romantic Lou (Logan Lerman).

 

Meanwhile, son Rusty (Nat Wolff) exists in his sister’s shadow. He is struggling to find his voice in writing and life and falls for a girl who needs more help than he realizes. Bill and his children make up a trifecta of romantic misfits. Perhaps it is intentional given his existence in the shadow of his sister’s success, but Wolff unfortunately fades into the background here alongside Connolly.

 

Kristen Bell takes a departure from goofier characters here as Tricia, Bill’s neighbor-with benefits-who takes it upon herself to force Bill back into the dating world. Logan Lerman is a gorgeously executed character here as Lou, who far from being the usual pathetic love-interest, sets upon wooing Sam with wit and intelligence.

 

Stuck in Love is the debut offering from writer/director Josh Boone. This is nothing if not a passion project. We understand implicitly that Boone understands his characters better than most screenwriters, having given each of his actors a ‘care package’ of items (including of course, books) that his characters would love in order for them to get a better sense of the character as they exist in his mind.

 

The film somewhat lacks the intensity of a real purpose driving the story. It is character-driven rather than being driven by narrative. In general, this shouldn’t work on screen but, with Boone’s caring hand, it somehow works. We care enough about each character to want to spend time with them, whether or not they will lead us to any gritty on-screen action.

 

It becomes clear that, despite being unable to write a word of his own prose, Bill is the author of our story here. Bill exists as an observer, rather than a participant, which is ironic given his writing advice to his son:

 

‘A writer is the sum of their experiences. Go get some.’

 

Kinnear shares a beautiful chemistry with Collins who manages the same on-screen mastery.

 

This movie is a must-see for all book-lovers. We learn that that the kind of books our characters read reveals more about each character than any amount of dialogue.

 

Stuck in Love is a charming snapshot of a family in crisis, which teaches us what it means to be part of a family and the way in which people become part of a story. It begins and ends with Thanksgiving in a demonstration of the over-arching theme of the film, that endings can also be beginnings.

 

Ciara O’Brien

15A (see IFCO website for details)

96 mins
 Stuck in Love is released on 14th June 2013

Stuck in Love – Official Website

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