Released: 2nd July
Seen: 28th July
It’s interesting to think that right now we should probably be inundated with movies filled with giant explosions. Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984, Black Widow, so many huge blockbusters should be out right now overwhelming our senses but sadly this year the world decided to see just how much it could mess everything up. As it stands there are no really huge movies coming out for a while, leaving a vortex that’s being slowly filled up by the films that would normally be forgotten by the mainstream, or surprise darlings like The King Of Staten Island… I mean, that’s what’s being shown down here where cinemas are open, they just seem to be filling it with whatever they can get their hands on that might normally go straight to DVD or be relegated to a seniors coffee morning screening. That’s as good a transition as I can be bothered to come up with, LOVE SARAH!
Love Sarah is about a woman trying to open up a bakery… oh god, that’s the plot, that’s the entire plot and I still have the rest of this paragraph to try and explain what’s going on when I genuinely just didn’t care. OK, the titular Sarah dies suddenly at the start of the film so her best friend Isabella (Shelley Conn), with the help of Sarah’s daughter Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet) and grandmother Mimi (Celia Imrie) have to work together to open the bakery in memory of Sarah. Along the way there’s… Ok, there’s no real shenanigans, but another baker who they hire might turn out to be a jerk. There might be conflict, conflict’s always good isn’t it?
Look, I’ll be straight with you, Love Sarah might as well be titled Love Ambien because I spent most of the time fighting off a boredom-induced nap. It’s just not interesting, visually or narratively. The entire plot is basically around getting this bakery to open but unless I missed something there was no real reason that it wouldn’t. The entire film is just one character wondering if they’re a good enough baker, turns out they’re basically a natural at it and everything they make looks like it could go in “Baking Porn Monthly” while their family helps them run this little bakery/cafe. That’s it, the biggest conflict might be when the other baker thinks about maybe taking another job for a split second and it’s treated like it’s the end of the world.
When the story is a whole bunch of nothing you rely on the performances even more to create something interesting but… nope, no these performances are just fine. Nothing about them particularly stands out positively or negatively, they never pulled me out of the narrative (such as it was) but they also never really made me feel an urge to engage with them. It’s not like these are bad actors or bad performances but they’re nothing to write home about. They just have no conflict, no real wants or desires so by the end of the movie I’m wondering why I gave a damn… ya know, between bouts of wondering if I had a taken power nap without even realising it because I was just that goddamn bored.
There is nothing wrong, per se, with a simple little slice of life story with low stakes and understated performances. It’s a simple genre of film that’s clearly aimed towards an older audience, this is the kind of film you take your Nan to go see… except Nan’s can’t exactly go out to movies right now and also I’m fairly confident even they would find this a bit slow. If I were to give it some positive praise, they sure as hell know how to film a shot of a dessert dish being put out onto a shelf. That shot happens a lot and every time I saw the dessert that they were making I wanted to have some of it… that’s it. The most memorable thing about it is that it shot desserts about as well as a Cheesecake Factory commercial.
Maybe Love Sarah just isn’t a movie for me, I’m willing to admit that. I do try to give every film a chance and see who it might be for, I’m certain this film has an audience that will enjoy the slow storytelling and almost non-existent drama but for me… it exists. I can say that it is a film that was projected onto a screen for 97 minutes and that I was in the room when it happened to be projected but other than that, it’s such a nothing film that the idea of giving it a scored rating feels meaningless since every number feels simultaneously too high and too low, it doesn’t offend or upset but it can’t entice either. I don’t love Sarah, but I acknowledge that Sarah existed