Title: Love, Rosie/Where Rainbows End
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Directed by: Christian Ditter
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
❝ Rosie and Alex have been best friends since they were 5, so they couldn’t possibly be right for one another…or could they? When it comes to love, life and making the right choices, these two are their own worst enemies.❞
I’m slightly late to the party, but I only got to watch the movie last week and I could not resist a book vs. movie comparison. While the movie was definitely swoon-worthy and enjoyable, it wasn’t as inspiring as the book. I liked it less because many aspects of the story were changed or omitted.
Love, Rosie tells the story of Rosie and Alex who have been best friends since they were little children. They do everything together, but are forced to pursue different paths when Alex gets accepted to Harvard and Rosie finds out she is pregnant. As the story progresses, they drift apart, then together again as they both grow into adults, but events still keep them from truly exploring their romantic feelings for each other.
In general, I thought that the movie followed the basic plot well. It portrayed Rosie and Alex’ relationship perfectly, incorporated humor I recognized from the book and inspired emotions in me. The book is told entirely through correspondence, so it’s only natural that the director had to make changes to the story in order to translate it into a movie.
One major pro is that they kept some of the correspondence in. I adored the conversations on MSN (mainly for nostalgic reasons) and it was cool to see the iPhone texts pop up on the screen.The book featured many characters so it’s understandable that the director could not incorporate all of them. Combining Brian and Greg into one character was a really creative solution that worked out well. I was also infinitely glad that the director chose to keep Toby in, because he and Katie were lovely together and essentially younger versions of Alex and Rosie. Most of all, I was relieved to find out that the ending featured Rosie and Alex at a much younger age. My only complaint about the book was that they only got to be together well into their fifties. I’m glad that they decided to fix that!
Despite all this, many changes were made that I personally disliked. For starters I could not understand why they replaced Rosie’s sister Stephanie with two little brothers. Or for that matter, why Alex suddenly has a sister, while his original brother Phil is introduced as a random character in a bar. It felt useless to replace both siblings by other more uninteresting ones. Why not leave them out completely then? Alex moves to Boston because of Harvard, instead of moving because of his parents. He’s also not the father of Sally’s child, even though that was an important aspect of him growing up in the book. Most of all, I can’t figure out why they decided to give the movie a different name. To make things more confusing, I’m guessing?
Fortunately, the cast more than made up for the depressing list of changes. I could not have imagined anyone else as Rosie or Alex and the chemistry between was a bonus. Lily’s only fault is that she looks youthful and as a result, Rosie did not seem to age throughout the movie.
To conclude, Love, Rosie is a wonderful romantic comedy with sweet moments and humor, but a lot less realistic or depressing, which (ironically) made the book so great. In my opinion the director deviated too much from the original plot points, with the result that I’m giving the movie three stars opposed to the four I gave the book. I still recommend this very much, but my advice is to not compare it too much to the book.
Where Rainbows End/Love, Rosie
True to original plot6.5/10
- Great casting
- Accurate portrayal of relationship
- Too many plot changes
- Too many character changes
A full quarter-century has passed since Nora Ephron deftly articulated the pitfalls of platonic friendship between men and women in “When Harry Met Sally … ” Yet if “Love, Rosie” is to be believed, a whole new generation of adults has arrived at much the same conclusion Ephron did: In the movies, at least, the sex part always gets in the way. A thoroughly likable English-language debut for German comedy helmer Christian Ditter, this marzipan-sweet adaptation of Cecelia Ahern’s 2004 bestseller, “Where Rainbows End,” is elevated by vibrant visuals and the winsome chemistry of Lily Collins and Sam Claflin. Cast as childhood BFFs who dance around their true feelings for each other through multiple decades, countries and partners, this inordinately pretty star pairing lends youthful appeal to a romantic comedy that could also woo the adult chick-lit crowd.
With its 12-year narrative timeframe, comfy middle-class Britishisms and sparky pairing of striving, pure-hearted girl and raffish, self-oriented guy, “Love, Rosie” evokes Rob Reiner’s aforementioned 1989 hit far less than it does Lone Scherfig’s “One Day” (2011) — another polished adaptation of a megaselling romantic novel, but one that fell oddly short of commercial expectations. Collins actually evokes that film’s lead, Anne Hathaway, in her porcelain physicality and warmly klutzy comic persona; even the appearance on the soundtrack of K.T. Tunstall’s “Suddenly I See,” the song that introduced Hathaway’s breakout turn in “The Devil Wears Prada,” seems calculated to forge the connection. (Unlike Hathaway’s notoriously wobbly stab at a Yorkshire brogue in Scherfig’s film, however, the half-American Collins’ English accent is daintily precise.)
Where “Love, Rosie” differs from “One Day” — and, indeed, from the cozy Richard Curtis strain of British romantic comedy from which it descends — is its streak of surprisingly bawdy humor, sometimes tipping over into outright sex farce. Ditter demonstrated his aptitude for broad comedy in his 2006 debut, “French for Beginners,” though he doesn’t always hit the right note here: A disastrous condom-related accident that ushers in a key plot development is wince-inducingly frank and funny, but a later comic setpiece involving S&M handcuffs seems awkwardly imported from a more heightened bedroom romp.
Papering over such tonal lapses is the consistently affecting, plausibly protracted core relationship between Rosie (Collins) and Alex (Claflin), two bright young things who have grown up in close proximity in the film’s picture-perfect, geographically muddled slice of suburbia. (Shot in Dublin and County Wicklow, Ireland, the setting evokes the novel’s Blarney roots, though most of the characters appear to have been teleported from North London.) So deep is their mutual affection that they risk taking it for granted, as they agree to accompany passing crushes to the high-school prom instead of each other. It’s a blithe pact with far-reaching consequences: On prom night, Rosie is accidentally impregnated by callow dreamboat Greg (Christian Cooke), halting her plans to follow Alex across the pond to Boston, where they had planned to study hotel management and medicine respectively.
From this crucial separation, the would-be lovers’ lives diverge quite dramatically. As Alex climbs the Ivy League class ladder, scoring an immaculate Type A g.f. (played with gleefully manicured unpleasantness by Tamsin Egerton) to match, Rosie is thrust blind into the challenges of cash-strapped single motherhood. While the film’s depiction of her predicament is undeniably romanticized — we’re still in the kind of movie utopia where no one need ask how Rosie affords her shabby-chic Victorian walk-up on a chambermaid’s salary — the spry script by Juliette Towhidi (“Calendar Girls”) still conjures sincere pathos from its pile-up of missed chances and paths not taken.
As appealingly humanized by Collins and Claflin, Rosie and Alex are sufficiently flawed, three-dimensional beings for their continued attachment to each other to convince, even as their circumstances (including a pair of bad marriages) make it ever harder to sustain. Required to carry the characters from their late teens to their early thirties, both actors deftly pull off that tricky transition, aided considerably by Tony Cranstoun’s fleet, springy editing. Collins, who made such a bright, fizzy Snow White in 2012’s “Mirror Mirror,” proves a particularly agile comedienne, showing womanly wit and gumption beneath the requisite, radiant ingenue exterior. The narrative outcome may never be in doubt, but “Love, Rosie” makes its heroine work harder than most for her genre-mandated destiny.
In a bracing break from the insipid televisual pastels of most comparable comic fare, Ditter has opted for a richly stylized mise-en-scene that enlivens the material without overwhelming it. Fresh from collaborating with Wim Wenders on “Cathedrals of Culture,” d.p. Christian Rein isn’t afraid to saturate the frame with brash primary tones and ambient lighting schemes, often boldly externalizing characters’ feelings in the process. It’s a film youthful and frisky enough to support such bold pop textures, even as Ditter’s direction verges on the over-literal: In a film heavy on upbeat song cues, the choice of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It” to soundtrack a childbirth scene was perhaps unnecessary.
Film Review: 'Love, Rosie'
Reviewed at Odeon West End, London, Oct. 6, 2014. (Also in Rome Film Festival — Galas.) Running time: 102 MIN.
Production: (U.K.-Germany) A Lionsgate (in U.K.) release of a Constantin Film prodution in association with Canyon Creek Films. (International sales: Mister Smith, London.) Produced by Robert Kulzer, Simon Brooks. Executive producer, Martin Moszkowicz. Co-producers, Don Carmody, James Flynn. Co-executive producer, Cecelia Ahern.
Crew: Directed by Christian Ditter. Screenplay, Juliette Towhidi, based on the novel "Where Rainbows End" by Cecelia Ahern. Camera (color, widescreen), Christian Rein; editor, Tony Cranstoun; music, Ralf Wengenmayr; music supervisor, Christoph Becker; production designer, Matthew Davies; art director, Colman Cornish; set decorator, Jude Farr; costume designer, Leonie Prendergast; sound (Dolby Digital), Barry O'Sullivan; supervising sound editors, Heiko Muller, Chris Rebay; re-recording mixer, Michael Hinreiner; visual effects supervisor, Steven Tischner; visual effects, Arri VFX; stunt coordinator, Joe Condren; line producers, Mark Nolting, Patrick O'Donoghue; associate producer, Jonnie Malachi; assistant director, Lee Grummett; casting, Gail Stevens.
With: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin, Jaime Winstone, Tamsin Egerton, Suki Waterhouse, Christian Cooke, Jamie Beamish, Lily Laight, Nick Lee, Marion O'Dwyer, Rosa Molloy. (English dialogue)
Want to read more articles like this one?Subscribe to Variety Today.