2.5 out of 5 stars
Rom-coms have become an endangered species throughout this pandemic era. Since few of them are blockbusters that appeal to younger viewers, most have been relegated to streaming services over the past few years. When one makes its way to cinemas, it is worth taking notice and wondering if it will bring the romantics out to the theatres again.
Sam Claflin (Enola Holmes) plays unsuccessful author Henry Copper whose book has failed to capture the hearts of the English population. As he waits to determine his future, he is contacted by his publisher, who informs him that his novel is a best seller in Mexico. She sends him on a book tour of the Spanish-speaking country and has the interpreter of the book drive him to each event. Upon arrival, Henry realises that the popularity of his book can be attributed to Maria (Verónica Echegui). Her translation rewrote his text into a sordid tale of sexual exploration that does not resemble the original manuscript. As they travel around the country, tension flies over the artistic changes that occurred and who should get credit for the story's popularity. The pair must figure out how they can work together as the publishers hope to have Henry write a new novel while he is amongst the people who adore his writing.
There are no real surprises to share as writer/director Analeine Cal y Mayor takes the viewer on a hilarious tour of Mexico. Her film relies on the familiarity of romantic comedy to introduce her unique premise. Even with the inclusion of the cross-culture element, things progress in a typical manner. Still, it will satisfy all who have come to love this genre. Between the language barrier, artistic tension and romantic components, this quirky little romance provides everything that would be expected from traditional romance films.
One aspect that hinders the progression of the story would be the uneven pacing. The transitions between acts feels a bit clunky at times and forces the director to have to restart certain elements unexpectedly. Thankfully the Claflin and Echegui have enough chemistry to help bridge over these gaping holes in the screenplay. The veteran actors seem to develop this relationship through the film and is believable enough to make the conclusion satisfying. Despite the fact that it will most likely be on streaming services soon, Book of Love does provide an option for the romantics of the world.
REEL DIALOGUE: The value of language
At the heart of this fun little cross-culture romance is the barrier of language. This tension of differing methods of communication makes for humorous and frustrating aspects of this script. All the while showing the value of speaking into people's heart language you are attempting to reach.
It is hard to imagine that the Bible could have an answer to the perplexing notion of languages, but it does. At the very beginning of the human experience, language is a crucial issue for the progression of human culture. At the Tower of Babel, God's solution to the problem of pride was to introduce many languages. This historical tale is worth studying for all who want to engage with the discussion of language. Are we speaking clearly enough?
Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. As people moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.