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‘Book of Love’: In the good books of romance movies

| Thursday, February 10, 2022

Claire Kirner | The Observer
Image sources: YouTube, IMDb

Amazon Prime admittedly makes some questionable movies and original series as all streaming platforms do. However “Book of Love” was a genuinely enjoyable movie and one of the better romance movies to watch for the upcoming holiday.

In the era of romance films with questionable quality, “Book of Love” is a standout. The plot of the movie is intriguing and easy to love. Henry (Sam Claflin) is a struggling writer who just released his first book, which appears to be failing. He is presumably going to be dropped by his agent until his book becomes a national best-seller in Mexico. Enter Maria Rodriguez, the translator of his novel, who has her own dreams to become a writer, but lacks the time due to juggling many jobs.

Something that I loved about this movie was the character of Maria (Veronica Echegui). She is unafraid to say what she means, contrasting her with Henry, who often struggles to find his words. Maria was my personal favorite character, and her role only furthered my enjoyment.

Too often when you examine the main characters of romance movies, they are found to be unlikeable. The only character I found unlikeable in this movie was Antonio (Horacio Garcia Rojas), Maria’s estranged husband and the father of her son, Diego. Antonio, despite failing to appeal to the audience, made an exceptional villain and a foil within the romance. However, not all the blame was cast on Antonio. Maria becomes upset with Henry for not choosing to trust her, which was an exceptional element to be added to the movie. Henry was rightfully called out for choosing not to believe Maria over a photo.

The characters were consistent in what they wanted and in what values were important to them. The changes made were done so for the sake of character development and the flow of the plot. Henry starts out with a certain idea of love, but he realizes the flaw in his view. The highlight of his change in character is its similarity to real life. A common complaint about romance movies is the scenario where main character changes his view within the last five minutes of the movie in order to avoid losing the woman he loves. This is something that is deeply unrealistic, but it still occurs. The fundamental flaw is that this leaves a sense of uncertainty as to whether the change is meant to be trusted. With Henry, his change did not happen overnight. He began to question if his ideas were right and if the journey he took was rewarding to see.

In addition to the love story that evolves organically and realistically, the other elements of the plot made the film an enjoyable one to watch. The subplots of the movie were entertaining as well. The book tour was made enjoyable especially with Maria’s interesting way of translating Henry’s book. She purposely skews the translation until audience members on the tour begin calling her out for it. This makes for a very funny scene where Henry finds out the truth about the book while on a talk show. The road trip scene was one of my favorite ones to watch, especially when Henry attempts to speak Spanish to Diego (Ruy Gaytan).

Having the film take place mostly in Mexico with a main character who doesn’t speak Spanish was used in a humorous way throughout, especially in the end scene when Pedro (Horacio Villalobos), Henry’s Mexican book publisher, gives Henry a pre-written speech in Spanish. Because the characters were easy to root for and the storyline was intriguing, I will be giving “Book of Love” four shamrocks.

Title: “Book of Love”

Starring: Sam Claflin, Veronica Echegui

Director: Analeine Cal y Mayor

Shamrocks: 4 out of 5

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