We all have our comfort food, whether home-cooked or high sugar/carb variety, we can always rely on to console or uplift you. Same with comfort movies, something guaranteed to have high feel-good content to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. Well, LOVE SARAH is the kind of sweet, poignant drama that can be described as my kind of comfort movies… and in this case, the sweetness also comes in the form of all those scrumptious baked goods featured in the film!
You know the saying how ‘an end can also be a beginning’… well, this movie starts off with a tragic loss that affects three different women. A friend, a daughter and a mother all mourn the loss of the title character. There’s the friend, Isabella (Shelley Conn) who has been waiting in front of what’s supposed to be the new space of their new bakery on the day Sarah dies in a bicycle accident. Then there’s Sarah’s mother Mimi (Celia Imrie) who’s in the middle of writing a letter when she hears the door bell rings with two policemen standing outside. Meanwhile, her daughter Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet) comes home from a dance rehearsal only to be dumped by her boyfriend, leading her to crash at the now-empty would-be bakery and later staying with her grandmother.
It’s while she was staying with her grandma Mimi that Clarissa comes up with the idea to fulfill her dead mother’s dream of opening her own bakery. Despite Clarissa’s unbridled enthusiasm, Isabella is reluctant to start it up again… understandably so, given how devastating it was to see their original plan just shattered to pieces when her best friend passed. Mimi somehow agrees to fund the venture, so voila! the Notting Hill bakery is born. They even enlisted a Michelin-star-winning chef Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones), an old classmate of Sarah and Isabella in culinary school.
I was immediately charmed by this movie, directed by Eliza Schroeder who’s credited with the story though its screenplay is credited to Jake Brunger. Now, the film has a certain dream-like quality, but it’s realistic enough to depict the reality of a new enterprise. People weren’t exactly lining up to get a piece of the delectable concoction featured on the store window on their first week, which means they have to get creative. For a film about a bakery, they sure don’t skimp on the scrumptious, drool-worthy treats.
It got even more mouth-watering when Mimi proposed to transform their bakery to feature desserts from all over the world. Inspired by a delivery man from a Baltic region, she realizes the fact that London is such a big multi-cultural city filled with immigrants from various nations. Soon the bakery became the place where non-English residents can feel a little bit at home while enjoying their favorite treats from their home country. What a splendid idea, it made me wish there were a similar bakery like this exist near me! I love the baking process as Isabella and Matthew constantly learn how to create intricate desserts from places like Lisbon, Australia, Denmark, Japan, etc.
I know that inclusivity and diversity in movies is on the rise and while that’s a wonderful thing, I also dread it when we’re hit over the head with it. Thankfully the celebration of different cultures here feels organic and natural with the worldwide baked goods practically are characters in themselves in the movie. Speaking of characters, I also love the cast! Celia Imrie and Rupert Penry-Jones are perhaps the most known to US audiences and they’re both memorable here, but I love Shelley Conn as a romantic lead. The romance between Isabella and Matthew might be predictable but they such a palpable chemistry. I also love how the entire ensemble mesh well together and effortlessly makes you root for them and this project.
Love Sarah is a love letter to anyone who’s ever had a big dream or lost someone dear… it’s also a heartfelt story about second chances that should be relatable to anyone. I feel like it’s been ages since I’ve seen a good rom-com, plus the setting in one of my favorite European city always makes me feel warm and fuzzy. It might not be quite as witty nor bewitching as Richard Curtis’ movies, but it’s certainly got loads of charm and soothing quality that wins me over. I would’ve happily seen this on the big screen had this been released in US cinemas, but since it’s on HULU, I’m glad I can always revisit it.