Film Review: Love Sarah (2020)

Less a macaron and more a fondant fancy, Love Sarah is still sweetly done

“All I can think about is whipping and creaming and tossing”

Much like any character that coughs up blood into a handkerchief, seeing someone riding a bike in a carefree manner often presages their swift demise and so it is for the titular character in the opening montage of Love Sarah. A celebrated baker who was on her way to collect the keys for the Notting Hill bakery of her dreams, her best friend and business partner Isabella is left waiting for the bad news alongside Sarah’s dancer daughter Clarissa and estranged mother Mimi. Through their grief, they decide to plough on with the plans for the bakery – it can’t be that difficult can it?

As we’re very much in Richard Curtis soft-focus land, it is a little bit difficult for a short while and then not so much after that. Mimi (Celia Imrie) is a retired trapeze artist with oodles of cash to bankroll it all, financier Isabella (Shelley Conn) of course trained to be an expert patissier in her earlier years and Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet) has…gumption. Whipping up business plans on the spot, doing market research on the fly, turning down highly-paid jobs to take a punt on pain au chocolats, the film is lost in marshmallow clouds of fancy but somehow never becomes too sickly sweet.

Jake Brunger’s (he of many a musical) screenplay, from Eliza Schroeder and Mahalia Rimmer’s story, gives us a London with no edges – handsome chefs from the past, twinkly-eyed inventor neighbours, no mouthy customers in the shop or laptop users occupying seats for hours on end – and Schroeder’s direction carries that easygoing thread through to the end. Rupert Penry-Jones adds eye candy along with the mighty food porn that his chef co-creates and if the end result is undemanding to the extreme, it is tasty enough in the eating. Or watching. You know what I mean…

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