Film Review Hotline

Selected from the March 1999 Film Review

This Year's Love
THIS YEAR'S LOVE 3 Stars

In this issue: Dougray Scott and the rest of the cast talk about their hot new movie.

STARS: Kathy Burke, Jennifer Ehle, Ian Hart, Douglas Henshall, Catherine McCormack, Dougray Scott, Emily Woof
DIRECTOR: David KaneSCREENPLAY: David Kane
CERTIFICATE: 15 TBCDISTRIBUTOR and Picture copyright: Entertainment
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 58mins TBCOPENING DATE (UK): February 19

Twentysomething angst in the pants.

'Everyone's looking for a prince amongst the pond life' or so the sell for This Year's Love goes. Funny. Shame the movie's not as funny as the phrase. Purporting to be a Brit flick version of Friends (gaggle of late twenty-somethings mingling in and out of each others lives in North London) This Year's Love combines dreadlocks, a funky soundtrack, tattoo art and Camden market grunge in place of Central Perk cappuccinos.

Tracking six characters over a three-year period it opens with the marriage of Hannah (McCormack) and Danny (Henshall) which lasts all of thirty-five minutes. We then get intimate with the ins and out of Cameron (Scott) an amoral artist who gets his kicks from shagging Time Out Lonely Hearts. Liam (Ian Hart), a sandwiches-short-of-a-picnic geek who fails mercilessly in the sowing oats stakes. Sophie (Ehle), an embittered toff turned single mum and Marey (Burke) a 'fat cow' (her own words) cleaner who somehow manages to bed all the blokes.

The fact that practically everyone sleeps with practically everyone else is a major feat of the films narrative. But if more time had been devoted to the supposed laughs and less to the logistics of bed-hopping the film might've lived up to its gag a minute sales pitch.

It is actually a mystery that a movie so singularly depressing when it comes to affairs of the heart, sets itself up as fun and games for the middle youth market. It's the infidelities, the unrequited loves, the "Oh, my God, I can't believe I've woken up with that!' moments that are most true and poignant. And it's the characters' relentless over-quirkiness, their saddo factor, that helps hammer this home. Frankly This Year's Love's strength isn't comedy, it's the desperation it associates with the human desire for the kind of great love that basically most of us never manage to experience. And this ultimately makes the film feel real.

It's also great to see good use made of the seriously talented Kathy Burke, who epitomizes the meaning of scene-stealer. And both McCormack and Woof (as a surprise lesbian) are worth their weight in gold. Overall though, This Year's Love is a tad disappointing. Why? Maybe it's because there is simply no prince amongst the pond life. Where the women are all likeable rough diamonds, the bloke's do get the fuzzy end of the character lollipop; Henshall's ginger, Scott needs a wash and Hart the electric shock treatment. Chuck Brad Pitt into the equation and we'd have been talking.

Lórien Haynes

This Year's Love photo copyright Entertainment
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