Director: Analeine Cal y Mayor
Screenwriters: Analeine Cal y Mayor and David Quantick
Starring: Sam Claflin and Verónica Echegui
Cinematographer: Gerardo Barroso
Amazon studios is no stranger to movies centered around love. Just earlier this month, they released the romantic comedy I Want You Back and Indian drama Gehraiyaan. And with February containing the world’s most romantic holiday, it’s only natural. One of their rom-coms, Book of Love, seems like it went completely under the radar, however…
… And understandably so. The film is about an uptight English writer Henry (Sam Claflin) and his failure of a novel. After discovering that his book is a surprise hit in Mexico, Henry soon discovers why. His Spanish translator Maria Rodriguez (Verónica Echegui) has completely rewritten his dry and dull novel into a passionate and erotic one.
By this synopsis alone, it’s hard to gauge how deep the creative team went in on the fluff and romance. To be fair, it does take a while to get going too. But once it does come, it’s oh so sweet. Here are 4 reasons you should watch Amazon Studios’ Book of Love by Analeine Cal y Manor.
4) A little realism, please!
If a writer ever found their book mistranslated, I’d imagine it would play out like what happens in Cal y Mayor’s feature. But what happens beyond this main plot is not only fascinating, but there’s a splash of realism too. Who would’ve thought? Realism in a rom-com? It’s unusual, but the screenwriters manage to take a wild idea and ground it in practicality. The leads don’t have chemistry fresh out of the gate. They’re on the opposite sides of the spectrum in their ideas about love. Quite frankly, they are opposites in life and well-being too. Moments like these happen often in this tale of improbable affection. But their journey towards being one accord on love is as sweet as ever.
3) Privilege is power
While the film has no trouble piling on the cheese and fluff, Book of Love explores important themes that ultimately adds depth to its characters. For example, Henry is a white male who gets by on being the author of one book, albeit unsuccessful. His mediocrity has never been a hurdle when it comes to his comforts of life. Maria, on the other hand, can’t seem to catch a break even though her talents extend well beyond the page. She’s a great writer, a caring mother, and works two jobs just to get by. Still, it’s never good enough to get Maria to that next level in life. This juxtaposition of their livelihoods is never glossed over. Instead, the writers carefully use it to explain how privilege is merely a power that is bestowed upon those who are a certain sex and race.
2) Just like a Telenovela
As in most romantic comedies, things take a turn for the weird and loco in Book of Love. But after two grounded and character-driven first acts, it is welcomed with open arms. At first, it comes in like a ton of bricks. But by the time the drama and soap opera vibes kick in, I realized this was an intentional direction that the writers wanted to take this film. And I couldn’t have asked for a better time and outcome. By the third act, the creative team ramps up the passion, drama, and frivolity. And it’s enthralling—just like a Mexican telenovela!
1) A crazy little thing called Love
I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that this film took its time going down the romance route. Honestly, screenwriters Analeine Cal y Mayor and David Quantick put more effort into their characters—a simple feat many romcoms fail to do. I can’t blame them, though. Because by the time sparks begin to fly between the two leads, it feels incredibly earned. Viewers will understand how the unlikely pair came to be thanks to the writing team. Instead of farcical circumstances, we’re given a story that is compelling and makes sense for the characters. And it’s much appreciated by the film’s end.
When thinking about the premise of Book of Love, it’s easy to write it off as a predictable film with little to no realism in its script. But that is simply not the case. The team behind this feature knew exactly how to use this to their advantage. Though the script tends to get a little preachy about male privilege, it is a nice added touch. It also makes the ending that much more earned. Book of Love is as fantastical as a telenovela; yet it is grounded by exploring themes of privilege and power with a subtle embrace of true love. If that doesn’t sound like a romantic comedy worth watching, I don’t know what is.
Check out the trailer for Analeine Cal y Mayor’s I Want You Back – Now on Prime Video!