Love Sarah review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso
Love Sarah is the made-to-order sort drama that makes you warm and fuzzy. It finds tender characters seeking worth and happiness in the face of overcoming tragedy and unfulfillment. Hardships are faced and hearts are broken but everybody ends up a sugary treat by the time the credits roll. Sure, the inspirational and feel-good aspects are about as genuine as artificial sweeteners but it’s hard to deny the flavor. Sweet is sweet.
The titular Sarah (Candice Brown) is a woman who dies unfortunately in an accident. Her best friend Isabella (Shelley Conn), however, is determined to make her dreams come true by opening up a bakery in Notting Hill. Despite both of them being bakers, Isabella feels a bit out of her league. Sarah was the one better trained in the culinary arts and Isabella could really use some help. Opening up a shop in Notting Hill is not easy, especially when the competition seems fierce. It’s enough to make Isabella give up.
But abandoning such a dream for a corporate job to pay the bills just wouldn’t be as inspiring. Of course, Isabella must rise above the distraught situation of such a tragedy and mounting bills to make the bakery a success. She’ll find some help with Sarah’s ex-boyfriend of Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones), a baker who just might be what the bakery needs. But it’s going to take more than just well-done pastries to bring in the customers.
Love Sarah means well enough in the approach it takes to make the bakery take off. The inspiration comes when Isabella notices that, wow, London has a lot of people from different countries. Maybe she can bake something that’ll make immigrants feel like they’re more at home with inclusive treats that speak to different cultures. It comes about in a rather hokey manner but at least there’s SOMETHING to differentiate such a story from an endless salvo of melodramatic bakery pictures that rely more on gumption than creativity.
A lot of the familiar tropes crop up in Love Sarah that arrive right on schedule. An opening that finds the bakery struggling? Check. Does a handsome guy come to the rescue? Check. Quirky conversations with an eclectic group of customers? Check. Montage of long hours working in the kitchen? Check. Lots of sensual footage of baked goods? Check.
It’s hard to feel anything for Love Sarah, really. It’s not really bad in that it comes exactly as advertised, aiming to please the middle-aged crowd with a bittersweet tale, extra on the sweet and touching. It doesn’t overstay its welcome nor does it diverge too much off the beaten path. Rarely does it ever veer off into areas it can’t muster, providing just the right amount of tenderness with getting older, finding love, and running a business. It’s a predictable pleaser, offering cinema comfort with half the calories. So don’t expect anything to fill you up.