Love Sarah follows a young woman who wishes to fulfil her mother’s dream of opening a bakery.
With all that’s happening in the world, sometimes a comedy-drama is just the ticket.
And Love Sarah, directed by Eliza Schroeder from a script she co-wrote with Jake Brunger and Mahalia Rimmer, certainly fits the bill for easy Sunday afternoon viewing.
The story follows Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet), a 19-year-old who is determined to fulfil her late mother Sarah’s dream of opening a bakery in the charming London suburb of Notting Hill.
Grieving the loss of her only parent and feeling divided about the future of her contemporary dance career, Clarissa sets about attempting to convince her mother’s best friend Isabella (Shelley Conn), who has plenty of baking experience, and estranged grandmother Mimi (Celia Imrie), a former circus performer, to come together to help her secure funding and set up the establishment.
Even though Isabella and Mimi have their differences, especially in relation to the matriarch’s treatment of her daughter during her lifetime, they agree at the last minute to have a go at helping Clarissa build the Love Sarah bakery before it's turned into a pop-up wine bar… quelle horreur!
But as with any new venture, the trio faces many business and culinary challenges, until one day, as if by divine intervention, professional pastry chef Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones) walks in and offers his services.
Not only does he introduce glossy croissants and delicate macarons to the cabinet’s offerings, but several more layers of intrigue when it's revealed he once had a fling with Sarah, but clearly still has eyes for Isabella.
Sure, the rest of the plot veers on the predictable side, and it has to be noted that one of the most exciting moments of the whole scenario involves Isabella whipping up a special matcha pancake cake for a Japanese client.
As expected, Imrie delivers a solid performance and grounds the whole storyline, and there are some sweet interactions between her character and potential love interest Felix (Bill Paterson), as well as with Clarissa and Mimi as they work to repair their complicated relationship.
And even if they don’t have a whole heap of chemistry, it’s nice to watch Isabella and Matthew as they take baby steps towards something more serious.
One of the funnier scenes involves Clarissa urging an unassuming Frenchman to take Isabella on a date – only for Matthew to sabotage the dinner. But make no mistake, this film definitely edges closer to the drama category than it does comedy.
In a way, Love Sarah is also a love letter to the London, and Schroeder does a nice job of framing local destinations and cityscapes. However, the narrative has a baffling lack of emotional depth and character development, which ends up making this little film feeling a touch undercooked.
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