Review: Love, Rosie

Imagine a Nicholas Sparks' vehicle (without the earnest charm) combined with Skins, and a bad LSD trip and you get some indication of the erratic and sprawling, cliché-ridden mess that is Love, Rosie.

Adapted from Cecelia Ahern's 2004 bestseller Where Rainbows End, Love, Rosie follows lifelong best friends Rosie (Lily Collins) and Alex (Sam Claflin) over the course of twelve years. We see the ups-and-downs of their friendship chronicled, as well as the potential for romance between the pair continually unfulfilled.

Spanning such a vast time frame, screenwriter Juliette Towhidi crams the narrative of Love, Rosie full, in her best attempt to give a detailed insight into both the lives of Rosie and Alex. By jumping erratically between the two character's lives over the course of twelve years - we are left with a chaotic, headache-inducing amalgamation of romantic-comedy clichés. From high school years to employment, family births to bereavements and a multitude of new romances - Love, Rosie stows its borderline unwatchable run-time with every genre trapping and potentially human ritual imaginable. However, there remains a frustrating simplicity in these characters and their lives: they easily fall into their dream jobs and fall in love (albeit out of it, also) with complete ease.

Director Christian Ditter's visual style, pacing and tone also verge on unwatchable. The director comprises his feature of countless erratically shifting sequences that are so abrupt and unpredictable that we have no chance to immerse ourselves in the world and characters of Love, Rosie. These scenes are often soundtracked by loud, overbearing pop music and cliché-ridden romantic imagery from sun-stroked parks (on either side of the Atlantic) to sleek apartments.

Equally as frustrating as its sprawling structure, is its narrative repetition. Love, Rosie is driven by a will-they, won't-they dynamic that becomes infuriatingly overbearing - there are only so many times that we can watch Alex and Rosie meet up, only to be driven apart by varying circumstances. However, we have to endure twelve years worth of potential hook-ups which lack any poignancy or subtlety.

One of the few saving graces of Love, Rosie is the excellent Lily Collins - the actress's consistency is one of the few elements that grounds the chaos of Ditter's film. Showcasing an emotional vulnerability and endearing spirit, Collins is excellent from start-to-finish. Sam Claflin, who impressed in the likes of The Quiet Ones and The Riot Club, suffers from blandness of character here - with the actor struggling to inject any life or charisma into this unfortunate role. In a surprise turn out for the books, Jaime Winstone is excellent as the comic-value best-friend with the actress bringing a gutsy charm to the fold, whilst a continually shirtless Christian Cook helps perk up the film at its lowest moments.

Love, Rosie is perhaps the worst British film of the year. Its chaotic, sprawling narrative, combined with an erratic directorial style and a multitude of genre clichés make it an almost unwatchable experience.

Also featured on The People's Movies.
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