Film Review: Book Of Love
Director: Analeine Cal y Mayor
Cast: Sam Claflin, Verónica Echegui, Horacio García Rojas, Fernando Becerril, Horacio Villalobos, Lucy Punch, Ruy Gaytan
Running Time: 106
Australian Distributor: Studio Canal
In Book of Love, Henry (Sam Claflin) is an uptight English writer whose novel is essentially a failure. However, in Mexico, the book is a hit. When invited to promote it, he quickly uncovers the truth. The Spanish translator Maria (Veronica Echegui) has rewritten what she views as dull, turning it into an erotic novel. Henry couldn’t be more furious, especially once his publisher asks the two of them to travel across Mexico on a book tour together.
Formatted as a classic rom-com meets telenovela, director Analeine Cal y Mayor does an incredible job of letting the story speak for itself. First and foremost, outside of Claflin, the entire cast of characters is diverse. Not only that, Cal y Mayor and writer David Quantick constructed the script in a way that lets their culture shine. Whether it’s allowing them to speak Spanish or Maria forcing Henry to partake in the nightlife, it truly feels like a fresh, exciting take on an over-saturated genre.
In a particular moment that really stands out, Maria’s son Diego takes a liking to Henry from the beginning. Over time, the two form an unspoken bond, literally and figuratively. The language barrier is tough for the both of them to navigate, but instead of letting that become a bigger issue, Henry takes to learning to speak Spanish better so that he can communicate with him and the locals.
The chemistry between both Echegui and Claflin is probably the most intriguing part of the entire film. Both of their characters come from very different lifestyles. Henry is a white Englishman that went to private boarding schools and got his big break as a writer. Maria lives as a single mother working to help make a living for her family while trying desperately to become something herself. Outside of the gooey love story, it acts as a harsh reminder to both them and the viewers to be open to broadening your horizons when faced with a new set of circumstances.
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