When I first saw the first trailer of She Is Love, I was immediately intrigued by the premise of an unexpected reunion. Patricia (Haley Bennett) is an American TV producer who books a boutique hotel in Cornwall for a little getaway. Her peace and quiet time is suddenly interrupted by loud music playing in the building. We then see a DJ at his mixing desk who’s soon revealed to be Patricia’s ex-husband Idris (Sam Riley). The idea of Riley as a rock star turned DJ is amusing given his breakout performance as Joy Division’s Ian Curtis in Control.
No doubt things shape up to be an awkward weekend vacation for Patricia. As if that weren’t enough, she soon learns that the hotel is run by Idris and his girlfriend Louise (Marisa Abela) who’s an aspiring actress. The first act is full of potential for comedy and drama as I imagine how I’d feel if I were stuck in such a predicament and how I’d survive it!
Alas, the main issue I have with this movie is the script, or to be more precise, its lack thereof. Apparently writer/director Jamie Adams has a penchant for spontaneity where she’d ask the actors to improvise a lot of the dialog. The movie certainly feels a bit experimentative and I think it has the potential to be something quite special if the elements jibe together well. Now, Bennett and Riley are both capable actors who are quite underrated, and they’re both committed and fully game on the improvisation idea. The two have a nice chemistry together which helps keep me engaged… for a while at least.
By the second act though, I was yearning for more depth in the characters and what had happened in their past. Unfortunately, the improvised dialog grow more aimless and left me frustrated and confused. There are a few lively scenes, like when they’re both dressed like ghosts with white powder and bed sheets. Even Mabela had some droll scenes that she made the most out of. But the actors can only do so much without a proper script. It reminds me of Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups where all of the scenes were improvised. Even an ensemble including Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, etc couldn’t make it work.
This movie is only 1hr 22 minutes long but felt so much longer because I struggle to connect with any of the characters and their motivations. For a title as enchanting as She Is Love, I expected to be swept off my feet by a love story. Alas, it was not to be, everything feels too random and aimless despite the actors’ best efforts.
SHE IS LOVE is now playing in select theaters and available on all major digital platforms.
Have you seen this film? I’d love to hear what you think!
13 thoughts on “She Is Love (2023) Review – Haley Bennett + Sam Riley’s great improvisation skills can’t save this aimless romance”
OK, I will avoid this.
I’d say it’s still worth a watch if it’s free, both actors are so talented, just need better materials.
I do like Hayley Bennett but she deserves better.
I remember seeing a trailer for this too, not the type of genre that I’d watch. I thought Sam Riley would become a hot and on demand actor in Hollywood by now. But somehow he’s never appeared in any big movies and maybe he prefers to do smaller films like this one.
Yeah, I think he had the potential to be a big star but it’s puzzling why he doesn’t get offers after CONTROL. Certain actors’ career trajectories just don’t make sense sometimes, but I’m glad he continues working even in smaller projects.
As you know, in Hollywood is who you know and how many butts you have to kiss to get to the top. I wonder if Riley just don’t want to play the game in that town. I still remember reading about a young actor who appeared in a couple of movies in the 80s and was about to become a big star. But he walked away from it all because he couldn’t stand the Hollywood lifestyle and how the game is play in that town. I couldn’t remember the name of that actor.
Hmmm now I’m curious who that actor is. He must be much older now then… so he stopped acting altogether? That’s too bad but probably best for him and he likely lives a much more peaceful life now.
Aww that’s too bad. I think Haley Bennett is very talented. I want her to have a hit.
She is VERY talented! I want her to have a hit too but hey she’s young so I think she’ll have a long, fruitful career ahead of her.
Alright, I will pass.
Hey Cindy!! How have you been? Hope all is well!
Hi Ruth! Ohhhh things are fine now. It took me a long time to transition from a lot of life’s events. Who are your top Oscar predictions? Mine are Blanchett, Frasier, and I’d like a surprise win for Maverick.
Glad to hear Cindy!! I fell behind in catching up on a lot of ppl’s blogs… including yours! So I’ll be making the rounds soon.
I haven’t posted my predictions but I’m thinking Yeoh and Farrell could win the top acting honors. I like Maverick but I’m not sure that I’m rooting for that to win BP. I’m still sad The Woman King didn’t make the cut! 😦