Friday, February 4, 2022

Book of Love: Movie Review

Bad characters and bad writing.
Book of Love is the type of romantic comedy you want to like more than you do. They cast Sam Claflin, and then can’t do anything else right. Henry (Claflin) is a novelist, comparing himself to E.M. Forster, but instead being met with criticism he argues against and a bookstore selling his novel at “Buy 1, Get 3”. Unbeknownst to him, his novel has been translated into Spanish and is a massive hit in Mexico, so off he goes.   2022

Directed by: Analeine Cal y Mayor

Screenplay by: Analeine Cal y Major,
and David Quantick

Starring: Sam Claflin, Veronica Echegui

The main problem with Henry is that he’s a 35-year-old boomer. He knows nothing about social media, complaining about young people “these days”, and is generally out-of-touch and mostly cranky and a little misogynistic. I don’t believe these writers have ever met a 30-something. But the movie gets way worse when we arrive in Mexico.

Henry meets Maria (Veronica Echegui), the translator. He assumed she was male, and I have no clue why that was a necessary joke. But on we go, on his three city book tour. The novel is the #1 book in the country, but his book tour includes only three stops all in small, out-of-the-way places. There are two big problems which every joke in the movie falls in at least one, and it’ll be hard to decide which tendency is your least favourite.

First, nothing is based on reality. Henry’s publisher is also his agent? Is also his editor? And he’s never met her before? I’m so confused. A book tour in Mexico that doesn’t include any major cities. And the translator also has her own publisher/agent/editor person. But wait it gets worse. Every single joke is a variation of her turning his book into erotica. He’s mad, and she doesn’t understand why he isn’t thanking her for turning his book into a “masterpiece”.

I don’t know if it’s the movie or just every character in it, but everybody seems to have confused “popular” with “good”. I’m sure E.M. Forster would love to have Howard’s End re-written into 50 Shades of Gray. The boomer Henry from the beginning of the movie is not going to forgive and then fall in love with Maria so quickly.

Book of Love is really hurt by the lack of reality, logic and humour. The fact that the two leads have no chemistry and they’re both unlikable also doesn’t help. I’m glad that Sam Claflin is picking rom-coms, but not this one.