At one point or another, we find ourselves looking at a dear friend of the opposite sex in a different light. It might be over time, it might be all at once, but either way it happens at least once to us all. Love, Rosie is a film about that one time, and the 12 years that follow in the complicated, surprising, and sometimes upsetting life of a woman who let that friend get away. While the trailers market a completely different movie altogether, the reality is that Love, Rosie is an endearing film that's arrived just in time for some appropriate Valentine's Day loving.
Rosie Dunne (Lily Collins) and Alex Stewart (Sam Claflin) have known each other since they were kids, and their relationship is poised on the knife edge of falling into something more romantic. Of course, as all good romantic dramedies will have you believe, things aren't as easy as they seem; and the two are thrown together and pulled apart over a decade. The greatest obstacle being that the stars never seem to align in the right order for them to be together. Eventually, something has to give, and it looks like Rosie just might be the one to make the final call in this game of love and friendship.
As I said before, the trailers for Love, Rosie completely sell the film as a stock romantic comedy. What actually ended up happening was that the film managed to win me over with a combination of British charm, clever writing, and well-executed performances. Make no mistake about it, this film does contain the recommended amount of rom-com cliches, especially with the would-be lovers constantly missing each other, the sassy best friend, and a couple of moments of obligatory speechifying.
But what sets Love, Rosie apart from all other films of its ilk is the fact that it doesn't try to take an easy, emotionally wrought shortcut. True, the film does still breeze through 12 years and a revolving door of relationship statuses for Rosie and Alex. But it doesn't feel like it's played for anything less serious than it is. What yields is a more realistic and weighted film that plays with convention, while knowing when to honor it.
Of course, without the young, brisk talent of Lily Collins and Sam Claflin, Love, Rosie would have been a bore to watch, as a film that plays on both sides of the spectrum of comedy and tragedy requires a steady hand to navigate the waters properly. Both Collins and Claflin are steady and sure, as they engage in a romantic pas de deux that puts their emotional range to the test. It's easy to see why Collins' was Snow White in Mirror Mirror and why Claflin is pretty much the only actor that could ever play The Hunger Games' Finnick Odair.
Love, Rosie is the perfect film for Valentine's Day, as it contains enough love and heartbreak to truly allow you to be thankful for whomever you have in your life. However, it's also a perfect movie to watch in honor of Single's Awareness Day, as it has two captivating leads that can be easily swooned over at the drop of a hat. Most importantly, it's a surprisingly good movie that takes a genre that's easily abused, and makes it into something much more human in the process. Richard Curtis' finest has some company in Love, Rosie, as this is a movie you could find yourself returning to annually.