A recent weekend found me attending a screening of this mainstream romantic comedy, a genre that I usually bar. However, when I tell you that not only is the film British, but also that it concerns a newlywed who discovers that she’s in love with another woman, you will understand why to say that my curiosity was whetted would be to state the facts accurately. Luce (Lena Headey), a florist in London, is hired to do the flowers for Rachel’s (Piper Perabo) wedding to Heck (Matthew Goode). It’s while walking down the aisle that from the corner of her eye Rachel catches a glimpse of Luce; it’s a case of the proverbial “love at first sight”. Luckily, Luce turns out to be gay.
What ensues is all quite predictable and harmless; all loose ends are neatly tied up; and as if by fiat the programmatic music tells us what we’re meant to feel. About now I can hear my readership begin to scoff. Come come, you may say to me--a tough, dour critic like yourself would usually chafe volubly at such fare. Why, it sounds as though it skirts perilously close to TV territory!
And yet a film about a woman who finds that she has fallen in love with another woman will be inherently political regardless of how light its touch. I don’t mean to burden the picture with more than its slight frame will bear, but there is food for thought here on the nature of friendship, sacrifice, identity, happiness, and the ties that bind. Plus, its clever writing and good actors generate that storied “dry wit” that renders British comedy so enjoyable, and the players impart an effortlessness to the material as well as a few moments of genuine poignancy. It’s a pleasure to catch up with Anthony Head (whom “Buffy” fans will remember as Giles) in a funny turn as Rachel’s out-of-it dad.
In short, this movie is like a pudding to be enjoyed after a season spent dining on the main courses served up by proper film. It keeps reality pleasingly from darkening our doorsteps for the nonce. And while this feel-good film is not itself world-altering, its very existence in the mainstream is perhaps itself evidence of a changing world.
Written and directed by a bloke called Ol Parker.
- Feb 12, 2006