List Film

Reviews & features: Romance

A Promise

29 Jul 20143 stars

Patrice Leconte's latest, inoffensive period piece brings together Alan Rickman and Rebecca Hall

Considering his feature film career stretches back almost 40 years, it’s a surprise that Patrice Leconte has finally made his first English-language film. A Promise, however, qualifies as something of a Euro pudding. This French director and his…

We’ll Never Have Paris

8 Jul 20142 stars

The Big Bang Theory's Simon Helberg co-writes, co-directs and stars in an undemanding, messy romcom

It’s easy to see why an undemanding romantic comedy with a bit of star wattage makes sense on paper as a festival closer, and this effort from one of the stars of the TV hit The Big Bang Theory will doubtless win some laughs from an Edinburgh Film…

Begin Again

8 Jul 20144 stars

Equally sweet and endearing quasi-sequel to Once starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo

How do you follow an Oscar-winning charmer like Once? It hasn't been easy for director John Carney. Did anyone see the comedy Zonad? He is back on form with Begin Again (originally entitled Can A Song Save Your Life?), a quasi-sequel to Once. Twice…

The Fault in Our Stars

17 Jun 20143 stars

Watching the film adaptation of John Green's terminal love story will require tissues, or a bucket

A story about first love in the face of certain death, The Fault in Our Stars is based on the novel by John Green. At the centre is a hugely affecting performance from Shailene Woodley – who is shaping up to be something of a star herself. Josh Boone's…

Blended

27 May 20142 stars

Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore's third pairing is a good film scuttled by crudeness

Directed by Frank Coraci, Blended marks the third romcom collaboration between Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, following The Wedding Singer (also directed by Coraci) and 50 First Dates. Their chemistry is still very much intact, but the film badly…

In Secret

20 May 20142 stars

An unimaginative adaptation of Emile Zola's Therese Raquin, starring Oscar Isaac and Elizabeth Olsen

Emile Zola's tale of love and betrayal in Therese Raquin has traditionally been cherished by those without imaginations of their own, making it one of the most overused plot-lines in cinema; this risible film takes inspiration from a play adaptation by…

Grace of Monaco

14 May 20143 stars

Nicole Kidman stars as Grace Kelly in this featherweight not-quite-a-biopic

There’s been much written already about Grace of Monaco, and director Olivier Dahan’s clashes with US movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a man notorious for getting his own way in the cutting room. Quite whose version we’re seeing here is hard to say, but…

Interview: Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero of The Room

25 Feb 2014

The two filmmakers discuss their so-bad-it's-good movie and Sestero's book, The Disaster Artist

When I meet Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, I am woefully under-prepared. I’d come along to tonight’s screening of The Room – part of the Cameo Cinema’s centenary celebrations – as a paying punter, expecting to witness a bit of Tommy’s madness on-stage…

A New York Winter’s Tale

24 Feb 20142 stars

Colin Farrell and Russell Crowe star in a fantasy-romance overburdened with mawkish sentimentality

Akiva Goldsman, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of A Beautiful Mind, makes his keenly anticipated directorial debut with an adaptation he also penned of Mark Helprin’s popular fantasy novel but for all of its lofty ambitions, A New York Winter’s Tale…

Mood Indigo

24 Feb 20142 stars

Michel Gondry's latest effort is a chaotic mess overflowing with unexplained ideas

Adapted from a novel by French writer Boris Vian, Michel Gondry's return to France after the bloated Hollywood excess of The Green Hornet is a bittersweet love story overburdened by directorial tricks. There's a delicate romance buried within, but…

Interview: film director Alain Guiraudie discusses Stranger by the Lake

14 Feb 2014

The film is a provocative tale of love, passion and treachery set against a gay cruising area

His name may not be as familiar as his two openly gay French director colleagues François Ozon and André Téchiné, but Alain Guiraudie is emerging from the shadows thanks to Stranger by the Lake. His provocative tale of love, passion and treachery set…

Only Lovers Left Alive

14 Feb 20144 stars

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star in Jim Jarmusch's anti-vampire, vampire film

Jim Jarmusch has made a career out of subverting the norms of genre filmmaking – indeed, his work is a genre unto itself. After the divisive The Limits of Control, his latest film (which is best described as an anti-vampire vampire film) signals a…

Love is in the Air

11 Feb 20143 stars

A fluffy French twist on a typical high concept Hollywood romantic comedy

True romance is marked by missed opportunities and second chances in Love is in the Air, a slick, fluffy French confection that slides down as easily as an extra helping of tarte tatin accompanied by a dollop of creme chantilly. It is a very French…

Endless Love

11 Feb 20142 stars

A by-the-numbers love story starring Alex Pettyfer and Gabriella Wilde

Franco Zeffirelli's original 1981 film Endless Love (itself based on Scott Spencer's 1979 novel) was notable for featuring a very young Tom Cruise in a minor role as an arsonist. Shana Feste's remake, however, struggles to be notable for anything at…

Interview: Director Spike Jonze on the Oscar-nominated Her

21 Jan 2014

The former music video maker discusses techno-romance and replacing Samantha Morton

At 44, he may be approaching middle age, but there’s still something unspeakably cool about Spike Jonze. In his teens, he was photographing skateboarders and BMX bikers. In his twenties, he was making landmark music videos like the Beastie Boys…

Cuban Fury

16 Jan 20143 stars

Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd and Rashida Jones star in lightweight salsa dancing romcom

If it didn’t sound like a totally awful poster quote, Cuban Fury might be billed as ‘From half the team that brought you Shaun of the Dead’. Conceived by and starring Nick Frost, it’s produced by Nira Park, the woman behind all of Frost’s collaborations…

Her

16 Jan 20144 stars

Spike Jonze's 'sci-fi romance' is thoughtful, tender and bristles with invention

After his disappointing adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, Spike Jonze returns in blazing form with the beguiling Her. Already being dubbed as a sci-fi/ romance, such simplification barely does justice to a story that feels both forward-looking…

Labor Day

16 Jan 20142 stars

An unintentionally hilarious melodrama starring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet

Jason Reitman is the closest thing we have to a 21st century Billy Wilder with his fondness for sharply written, tart tasting explorations of modern mores. Juno and Up in the Air proved that there is still intelligent life at work in American comedy.

Opinion: Blue is the Warmest Colour is great on love, bad on lesbian sex

7 Nov 2013

Director Abdellatif Kechiche says that 'love is cosmic', but his film fails to convey queer nuances

‘There’s a banality to how a lot of directors represent female bodies and female pleasure, partly because they borrow from the industrial handbook of male-oriented pornography,’ wrote Manohla Dargis in The New York Times, after viewing Blue Is The…

The Broken Circle Breakdown

16 Oct 20134 stars

Felix Van Groeningen's visual feast of a film shows all the colours of love

Like a kaleidoscope of human experience shifting from images of joy to those of sorrow, The Broken Circle Breakdown dazzles as it draws you in. It's a poetic, sometimes devastating tale of love and loss set to a soundtrack of Belgian bluegrass. On paper…

Le Week-End - a recommendation from Visible Fictions' Douglas Irvine

15 Oct 2013

The artistic director of the kids' theatre urges you to see the Jim Broadbent-starring romcom

I create a lot of work for younger audiences – maybe this is the reason I’m so excited to see Hanif Kureshi and Roger Michell’s latest cinematic collaboration, Le Week-End. Starring the brilliant Jim Broadbent and Lindsay Duncan, this tale of a…

Enough Said

14 Oct 20134 stars

A heart-warming and frequently hilarious romcom starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus

The late James Gandolfini had rare charm as an actor – to such an extent that in The Sopranos he turned a violent sociopath into one of the most compelling and likeable characters on television. Gandolfini was seldom used well on film so it’s wonderful…

Romeo and Juliet

14 Oct 20132 stars

Carlo Carlei's take on Shakespeare's much-told tale is far too reverent to the source material

Shakespeare’s classic story of star-crosssed lovers arrives in our cinemas thanks to co-production company Swarovski, and the results have the same ring of bling to them. This film puts the Bard behind glass; there’s lots of dazzle in the earrings…

The To Do List

4 Oct 20133 stars

Aubrey Plaza stars in Maggie Carey's unconventional and original teen sex comedy

It’s refreshing to see a teen sex comedy unfold from a female perspective, even if it’s slutty, potty-mouthed and often mean-spirited. But then much of the appeal of Maggie Carey’s The To Do List lies in the way that it flies in the face of convention…

Kelly + Victor

25 Sep 20132 stars

A dark and brooding tale of obsessive love scuppered by shallow writing and a fragmented structure

A dark and brooding tale of obsessive love, Kieran Evans’ take on Niall Griffiths’ novel might just as easily be dubbed Last Tango in Liverpool. This Merseyside-set story begins as Victor (Julian Morris), out celebrating his 28th birthday at a…