REVIEW: Love Sarah
Anjelica Rankin | On 01, Jul 2020
When acclaimed baker Sarah unexpectedly dies, her daughter does what she can to make her own, and her mother’s, dreams come true in Love Sarah: a whimsically British story about grief, family, and food.
Sarah, played by former The Great British Bake Off contestant Candice Brown, is killed in a tragic cycling accident right before the opening of her dream bakery in Notting Hill. Her business partner and best friend Isabella (Shelley Conn), scrambles to save the money she invested in Sarah’s dream, only to have Sarah’s charmingly obstreperous daughter convince to her to try and open the bakery anyway.
Of course, they have to persuade Sarah’s mother Mimi (Celia Imrie) to join them, which is only made more difficult by the fact Mimi wasn’t speaking to Sarah at the time of her death. What follows is a heart-warming tale of three generations of women working together to open a bakery that appeals to a multicultural London.
The emotional backbone of Love Sarah is its themes: found family, grief, and reconciliation. These give the film great heart and emotion and, while there are moments to laugh, there are also moments to cry. To me, the movie is all about home. Home for immigrants living in London, home for Sarah’s daughter Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet), and home for Mimi, who missed her chance to reconnect with Sarah.
The struggle of a small business trying to find success will be a familiar story for businesses operating in a time of COVID-19, which director Eliza Schroeder couldn’t have predicted but still handles thoughtfully. While Clarissa, Mimi, and Isabella encounter a lot of challenges, they work hard for big, and small, victories. It’s a message of hope for business owners facing hard times. The three women impart some valuable lessons for these business owners: be determined, be flexible, and don’t be afraid to rely on those around you.
The journey to open the bakery is the best part of Love Sarah. It’s exciting to see the gang (Clarissa, Mimi, Isabella, and eventually Michelin star chef Matthew and inventor Felix) become business partners, friends, and, finally, family. If you’ve ever watched Schitt’s Creek, it’s like watching the conception of Rose Apothecary. There is humour, tension, personality clashes, and the satisfaction of watching them overcome challenges. I could watch a whole series about the gang and their bakery.
Since I love anything to do with the bakery, I may be slightly biased, but a lot of the film’s subplots didn’t seem to go anywhere. For example, even though Felix has a soft spot in my heart, I couldn’t figure out why he was there. Possibly, to install the bakery’s security system but, even then, they had no trouble with break-ins before or after his arrival.
This wouldn’t be so distracting if it was the only instance. However, there were other times when my focus was pulled away from my beloved bakery gang and onto seemingly superfluous things. It was almost like the subplots were competing to see which was the most relevant to the film’s main conflict, with only a few of them winning.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it when the story moved away from the bakery, I just would have liked to see more balance between the storylines. I like that we didn’t know who Clarissa’s father was, I’m just not sure why there were three different people searching for the answer.
The way I know I’ve liked a movie is by how excited I am to tell people about it. Whenever I would run into my sister in the hallway while watching Love Sarah, I couldn’t help but relay the trials and tribulations of the bakery gang to her. There’s something magical about watching these women come together to honour the dream of their deceased friend, mother, and daughter.
Love Sarah is a heart-warming watch about three generations of women uniting to remember their lost loved one in the best way they know how: to achieve Sarah’s goal and become a family along the way.
As one of the first major theatrical releases to mark the re-opening of Australian cinemas, and following its successful showing at the New Zealand box office where it’s held the No.1 spot for the last few weeks, Rialto Distribution’s LOVE SARAH will open this Thursday (2 July) on approximately 180 screens nationally.