Country hotels, what a place to find people. Where the lands are littered with people wearing tweed and supping yards of ale, contemplating their existence away from the civilised world, fields of green and tractors of blue must tire when a Vue cinema is nowhere in sight. How else can She Is Love, the latest Jamie Adams-directed feature, be viewed? Weep for what is lost. Here it is the loss of time. Eighty minutes could be spent muttering to pub landlords over a pint of warm-ish bitter but let’s not complain, the other pub is an hour’s walk. At least Haley Bennett, the hotshot supporting star of a collection of mediocre projects and a stellar appearance in The Equalizer, is given the leading role. Death by stardom it is, for She Is Love does Bennett no favours.
As Patricia (Bennett) snoozes away in a taxi toward some coastal emptiness, the inevitable encounter with Michael Smiley on the horizon, it becomes clear audiences may as well tucker themselves out too. Drape a knitted blanket over the knees, ease back onto this fine new velvet sofa, kick your feet up and pass right out. You’ll not miss much unless uneven camerawork and bobbing up and down toward a sparsely populated beach with twinkling, Sims 4 piano music is your cup of tea. Better to have a big, big glass of Lemsip, like the one which conked out Mark Corrigan in that one episode of Peep Show. Either that or wait for the tired experiences of She Is Love to send you off to the land of dreams. Either or, really. Snoozing through this one is inevitable.
Sam Riley proves insufferable as the supporting role and ex-boyfriend who inevitably finds his love rekindled despite the new girlfriend in tow. A triangle is soon stuck together. Still, as Bennett wanders the inevitable contrasts to loved-up Fawlty Towers wearing sunglasses and supping vodka from a bottle as though she were Jack Nicholson incarnate, the sickly-sweet visions Adams’ latest feature works up are far from the delight they would usually be. In contrast, there is interest and although most of She Is Love is just watching Bennett enjoy a few days in a hotel (the film never strays into The Lost Daughter territories of madness), there is a narrative. Deep and buried below cushioned beds and a languishing, mid-life crisis of a man at the core, is something.
Nothing worth seeing unfold, but something. On second thought then, envy the country folk. They do not have Vue Cinemas. They cannot view She Is Love. Every countryman is driven to learn acoustic guitar, as is the case for the tiresome and lengthy scenes of Riley muttering away, sliding his fingers across the neck as though he were performing The Leadmill. He is not, and the fumbling experiences of the script found in She Is Love is a death sentence. Difficult to care for and never expecting audiences to, She Is Love heads on through the motions and does not make any difference. Whisky drinking, asking for the expected troubles of cliché, all of it is here in the country. Leave it behind. Bury it. Straw Dogs it if you have to, but not this. Never this. Lake District holidaymaking in an 80-minute budget for those who cannot drive there themselves.