If you’re looking for crowd pleasing entertainment, it’s hard to go wrong with “Love Sarah,” a delightful romantic comedy from director Eliza Schroeder. You could argue that this movie is agreeable to a fault, but sometimes a sweet story filled with charming characters is the perfect prescription for curing a lousy day.
After her mother Sarah (Candice Brown) dies unexpectedly, Clarissa’s (Shannon Tarbet) life is upended. Her boyfriend just broke up with her and kicked her out of his flat, and she has nowhere to go. Wanting to fulfill her late mother’s dream of opening a bakery, Clarissa enlists the aid of her mom’s best friend Isabella (Shelley Conn), who attended culinary school and plans to do some of the baking. Realizing they need more money to turn the dream into a reality, Clarissa approaches her estranged grandmother Mimi (Celia Imrie) for help. The three women put aside past differences and come together to honor the memory of Sarah.
It’s a simple (and romanticized) story with a mostly predictable outcome, but much like a sunny spring afternoon, the film is easy to like. The characters are delightful and their relationships (including Sarah’s ex-boyfriend Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones), who joins the team as the lead baker) are well-developed. There’s a sweet romance between Mimi and Felix (Bill Paterson), the eccentric inventor across the street, and the banter between all the characters is fun and pleasant. The performances are just as cheery as the story.
Writer Jake Brunger builds progressive themes into his screenplay that make politically-correct points in the gentlest way possible, so as not to offend staunchly conservative viewers. A pro-immigration story line manifests itself through the trio’s multicultural bakery, as they create regional cakes and cookies from countries from all over the world. There are some facts and figures casually discussed about the number of London’s citizens that are from other regions, too. When you think about it, a bakery that specializes in a taste of home is actually a great idea for a real business.
The film is a visual treat for foodies, as gourmands will delight in the lingering shots of gorgeous baked goods. From a picture-perfect French mille feuille and Scandinavian kringles to Tennessee bourbon pecan pies and Japanese matcha green crepe cake, the pastries shown here will make you wish you had a dessert on hand when watching this movie. (In fact, I’d strongly recommend it).
Just like a perfect little pastry shop, everything about “Love Sarah” is lovely. The quaint Notting Hill setting, the adorable pink-ribboned patisserie boxes, the candy-colored baked goods themselves, and the sweet story combine to make this a comforting, big-hearted movie.