Release Date – 3rd February 2023, Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 20 minutes, Director – Jamie Adams
When she arrives at the hotel run by her ex-husband’s (Sam Riley) girlfriend (Marisa Abela), Patricia (Haley Bennett) confronts the downfall of her relationship in a drunken evening with her former partner.
“I’m aware of how acutely uncomfortable this situation is” Sam Riley’s Idris downplays the awkward circumstances to his hotel-running girlfriend Louise (Marisa Abela). The ‘situation’ at hand is Idris’ ex-wife Patricia (Haley Bennett) arriving at the hotel for a brief stay. While he tries to escape through his music blasting through the halls, and Louise hassles bookkeeper Kate (Rosa Robson), his mind continues to call back to the fact that Patricia is wandering the corridors and staying in ones of the rooms in the same building. It’s not long until the pair find themselves confronting their past relationship and where things went wrong – with perhaps more dramatic leanings than the consistently light and comedic tones of the film initially suggest.
It’s hinted that Idris has been sober for a number of years, however both central figures turn to alcohol for the evening as the drunken night leads to many giggles and exploits for them alongside the reveal of the dramatic truths. Links to alcoholism aren’t quite dealt with upfront, instead used more to show the emotional state of Riley’s character. While this means the film doesn’t quite dive into dramatic depths until its later stages, allowing for the humour to come through with more ease, it does mean that certain points feel as if they could be dealt with a bit more instead of almost being brushed by.
Yet, it’s the humour which truly projects She Is Love. Not just between Riley and Bennett but also the slight double act of Abela and Robson. Louise asks impossible and confusing questions and tasks of her employee, both played wonderfully dead-pan to increase the laughs. All conversations feel natural with a comedic style and timing which calls back to the likes of In The Loop and The Office – without the mockumentary style of the latter. In particular a scene involving a debate about fish is a highlight of the film as Abela steals the show with just this one back and forth. Of all the top performances throughout the film, highlighting the natural conversational comedy, it’s this scattered supporting role which truly brings the most laughs.
As we near the closing stages of the film the dramatic angles begin to become more prominent. While initially things may have felt lightly dealt with the eventual proper tonal shift is dealt with and eased into rather well. Certain moments might feel slightly aside from the rest of the film, however there’s no denying the effect of how the situation is led into after the drunken antics such as playing tennis while pretending to be ghosts in an increasingly. The general flow of the film is excellent as one event leads into the other, all helped by the increasingly giggly nature of the former couple who aren’t quite healing wounds or confronting them for a fair while – simply seeming as if they’re pretending they never happened. The 80 minute run-time flies by as the ideas the film does display and work with are dealt with well and with plenty of effective humour. Definitely a surprise, but a real delight alongside that.
While some of the dramatic elements might feel lightly dealt with its the natural conversational comedy which brings about plenty of laughs and helps She Is Love to flash by while still dealing with the wounds and details of the central couples’ past.