review – she is love

At the end of last year, it was hard to find the movie “Causeway” in a movie theater because the movie was only playing on one screen at one location in the Los Angeles area.  I didn’t think it could get worse than that until I recently searched for “She is Love” playing in a movie theater.  I only found ONE SHOWTIME for “She is Love”.  Other than one day when there was a special showing of the movie followed by a Q&A with the director (I wish I could have made it to that show), there was only one screen at one location showing the movie ONCE A DAY in the Los Angeles area.

I thought this was probably due to “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” or “Avatar: The Way of Water” playing at almost every theater – including what they call “art-house” theaters.  However, after I saw the movie – I rented it from a video-on-demand service – I think there might be another reason.  This is a small movie in every way.  It’s approx. 1 hour 20 minutes long.  The cast is just 7 people.  3 people are the main characters of the movie, 2 people are in a few scenes, and 2 people are only briefly seen or heard.  Also, according to what I’ve read, this movie was shot during COVID, so it had a very small crew and was filmed in less than a week.

It’s a very simple story written and directed by Jamie Adams.  Patricia (Haley Bennett) takes a weekend trip to a small town in the UK where all the hotels are completely booked up, so she is booked in a room for rent at a house.  She discovers that her ex-husband Idris (Sam Riley) and his fiancée Louise (Maris Abela) live in the house she’s staying in.  Since Patricia and Idris haven’t seen each other in a decade, they spend Friday night and all-day Saturday catching up.  Meanwhile, Louise is jealous about their relationship and concerned that Idris might get back together with his ex-wife.

Most of the movie is Idris and Patricia talking or singing or goofing off together all-day Saturday.  I really like how you slowly learn about their history together and why they broke up.  There are also some very funny scenes in the movie.  I especially like the scenes with Kate (Rosa Robson).  As Louise gets more frustrated with Patricia and Idris spending so much time together, she rambles and sometimes argues with a confused Kate. 

However, I wish the movie had a lot more story and character development.  They never mention why Patricia is spending a weekend in that city.  I don’t remember if they even mention what city the house is in.  Patricia might be there for the same reason all the hotels are fully booked, which is never explained.  She never leaves the house until the end of her trip on Sunday morning, so I guess she skipped whatever she took the trip for. 

Idris is either a singer/songwriter or a DJ.  The first time Patricia hears him, he is using some DJ equipment “remixing a remix” (as he describes it).  Later, you see him playing a guitar and working on a song.  Towards the end of the movie on Sunday morning, Alice (Marika Hackman) shows up at the house and says she’s a big fan of his.

Louise is the least developed of the 3 main characters.  When she first arrives on Friday afternoon she talks about getting cast in something, but after Idris tells her about Patricia you don’t learn anything else about her.  She is alone for most of her scenes on Friday night and Saturday except for a couple scenes with Kate.

Speaking of Kate, she’s such a minor character I’m not sure what she does.  I think she’s an assistant for someone.  It looks like the only reason she’s in the movie is to show Patricia her room when she first arrives and to be the person that listens to Louise rambling.

The director is known for letting the actors improvise lines and actions.  In fact, the end credits say the movie was also written by the cast.  If the characters were developed better, I think some scenes with a lot of improvisation would have worked a lot better.  For example, the first time Patricia meets Louise on Friday evening is when she asks for a phone to call a car so she can go out to get some dinner.  Idris and Louise both say that she can have dinner with them.  For a few moments in the scene, all 3 people are speaking at the same time so it’s hard to understand what any of them are saying. 

There’s also a scene on Saturday night of Louise dancing around her bedroom while she’s getting dressed.  It looks like the scene is entirely improvised and I was wondering what the scene is for.

Overall, I think it could have been a lot better if the story and the characters were developed more.  It might have also been a lot better if it was playing on more movie theaters screens.

I give it 5 out of 10 stars.