- Promise, The
- Belko Experiment, The
- Finding Fatimah
- Free Fire
- Their Finest
- Fast & Furious 8
- Hatton Garden Job, The
- Boss Baby, The (3D)
- Autopsy of Jane Doe, The
- Lost City of Z, The
- City of Tiny Lights
- Quiet Passion, A
- Void, The
- Man Down
- Ghost in the Shell (3D)
- Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang
Stars: Alex Pettyfer, Gabriella Wilde, Robert Patrick, Bruce Greenwood, Rhys Wakefield, Dayo Okeniyi, Emma Rigby, Joely Richardson
Director: Shana Feste
Yet another February 14th release date.
So does this romcom rate as a date movie if not a work of art or auteur filmmaking?
The answer is yes – as long as the essential target audience is hormone- bubbling young teenage girls. They will probably get their money’s worth from the expertly cultivated fields of cinematic corn on offer.
Older audiences, however, might simply find the sugar-saturated saga endless in itself.
Should you recall the 1981 Zeffirelli, rather-different version of Scott Spencer’s novel, featuring Brooke Shields and Martin Hewitt, then hit the delete button in your memory right away.
This vamped-up version (while not as awful as Zeffirelli’s misfire) is simply a slick collection of clichés masquerading as drama and performed with a great deal more sincerity than the material deserves.
The setting is Georgia (USA, not Europe) where mechanic’s son Alex Pettyfer and privileged doctor’s daughter Gabriella Wilde meet at high school (where else?) and fall in love, consummating (but in the nicest way possible, of course, given the film’s 12A certificate) their teenage passion in front of a celluloid-cliché traditional roaring fire.
Naturally a working-class/upper-class romance is bound to face problems. And it dies, largely in the seething shape of Wilde’s overbearing doctor father, played without embarrassment by Bruce Greenwood as a man obsessed with his daughter’s future in medicine and with the death some years ago of his beloved young son.
Does love triumph at the end? Naïve question, although it finally takes a house on fire to catalyse the patently expected happy ending.
Interestingly, the young lovers are both British. They deserve praise for their credible American accents and, in the case of Pettyfer, for his splendid all-American-appearing gleaming teeth.
In the face of Shana Feste’s direction and the director's mushy screenplay (co-written with Joshua Safran), the actors do what they have to do without giving their respective families cause to disown them and with sufficient charm to make their characters credible (in a strictly cinematic sense). Greenwood plays the anguish in his character to its fullest extent and Joely Richardson makes good as Wilde’s gentle mother.
USA 2014. UK Distributor: Universal. Technicolor.
104 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.
Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.
Review date: 12 Feb 2014