For a film whose plot starts with death, Love Sarah is surprisingly upbeat and hopeful.
Love Sarah opens to an uncomfortably dark moment, as Sarah, a beloved family member, and talented baker is killed in a road accident, her dream of opening a bakery cut short just as it began to take flight. Following this, her mother Mimi (Celia Imrie), best friend Isabella (Shelley Conn) and daughter Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet) band together to honour her wishes by making sure her dream comes true, taking on the arduous and expensive task of opening the bakery in her place. Which is a nice idea, of course, but rather more unpleasant to witness considering their tense relationships and utter inability to work as a team.
Weighed down by grief and the stress of opening a new business, they face an uphill battle from the start, struggling to attract a talented baker, let alone the customers they need in order to pay the rent. But have no fear, as beauty can often come from suffering, and with a little hard work and creativity, our savvy female protagonists find a way to fill their bakery to the brim.
With the business side dealt with early on, audiences are soon treated to some delectable food shots (seriously, you’ll be running to your nearest bakery after this) and even more delicious romance.
Playboy turned hopeful love interest Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones) will have all the younger women’s hearts beating like mad, while Felix (Bill Paterson) will appeal to the older crowd. Between the two, they have charm, sex appeal and adorability covered, so no one in the audience is likely to be left dissatisfied. Too bad the same can’t be said for the characters, with Isabella spending most of the film fighting her attraction for Matthew, which results in nothing but suffering for them both. Thankfully Mimi is much more confident in her romantic interest, ensuring at least one couple is serving the audience plenty of cute scenes throughout the film.
While Love Sarah offers an interesting take on a film about grief and undoubtedly has enough sweet moments to rot your teeth, there are clear problems that hold this film back. Worst of all is the lack of a clear plot towards the end of the film, with little happening to drive the story forward. Instead, the film appears to run out of originality at the halfway mark, before quickly descending into obvious tropes that add little to the story.
This is not to say that the second half isn’t worth watching, after all, it’s where we get our happily ever after. But it certainly isn’t as interesting as the first half, and without the food porn to hold the audience’s attention, you would probably find yourself flicking through your phone in no time.
It’s an imperfect film, and I can’t imagine anyone rushing to call it the best film of the year, but Love Sarah remains one I would recommend watching. It’s fun, sweet and pleasantly surprising. Just make sure you have snacks on hand before watching!
Love Sarah is released in select cinemas on 10 July.