The Movie Waffler New to Prime Video - SHE IS LOVE | The Movie Waffler

New to Prime Video - SHE IS LOVE

New to Prime Video - SHE IS LOVE
An American woman checks into a small English hotel, only to find it's run by her ex-husband.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Jamie Adams

Starring: Haley Bennett, Sam Riley, Marisa Abela

She is Love poster

British writer/director Jamie Adams has displayed something of an obsession with struggling musicians and songwriters in recent films like Love Spreads and Bittersweet Symphony. His latest, She is Love, concerns a musician/songwriter, but that occupation never quite figures into the narrative in any meaningful way.

She is Love review

Sam Riley is Idris, a once popular singer-songwriter whose career seems to have hit the skids. We find him running a small hotel in the English countryside with his budding actress girlfriend Louise (Marisa Abela), but his heart doesn't seem to be in the venture. Enter Idris's American ex-wife, Patricia (Haley Bennett), who just happens to book into the hotel.

Initially it seems Adams is about to fashion a sort of Millenial Fawlty Towers, but despite the film sharing its handheld aesthetic with a dozen BBC sitcoms, the expected bedroom farce fails to play out. The compelling comic presence of Abela, as a sort of hipster Sybil Fawlty, is soon pushed aside as her character somewhat inexplicably decides to head off and leave her boyfriend alone with his ex-wife.

She is Love review

Adams is known for his improv-heavy style, something he continues here. This technique worked quite well in Love Spreads, where the characters felt well-defined and convinced us as bandmates who had spent too much time together. She is Love is so superficial that it often feels like we're watching a rehearsal rather than a finished product. Riley and Bennett spend a lot of time coming up with backstories for their characters on the fly, and as a result they sometimes trip over their words. Later scenes prove contradictory to earlier ones, like how Bennett's Patricia throws a strop regarding an earlier pregnancy, which runs contradictory to a joke she cracked earlier.

She is Love's flaws might be dismissed as a product of filming in pandemic-era conditions, but Love Spreads saw Adams and his cast work in a similarly confined setting. You get the sense that Bennett had limited time in England, denying the director as much rehearsal time as he might have liked. Subsequently, She is Love is a film that seems to be making up its story as it goes. None of its revelations are particularly interesting, just the sort of everyday issues that tend to break up relationships.

She is Love review

There's barely enough material to even fill out the film's scant 82 minutes, and in two instances Adams pads out the time by having his cast either dance or listen to songs. The use of Nick Cave's 'Into My Arms' is a particularly lazy way of injecting some second-hand melancholy into a drama that has struggled to establish a mood of its own.

"Sometimes it's better not to rehearse," a character decries at one point. Perhaps not in this case.

She is Love
 is on Prime Video UK now.

2023 movie reviews