“Love of my Life” , directed by Joan Carr-Wiggin is a bittersweet drama/comedy about a middle aged architect and mum of two, Grace (Anna Chancellor), who is diagnosed with cancer and may only have 5 days to live. Her attitude towards the illness is all about being the heroine never the victim and instead of taking it easy on herself, she carries on with her life as normal. You wonder whether this just a “I need to be strong facade” or whether she is about to fall apart anytime and understandably so. But alas, there are no moments when we get to see her vulnerability , whatever we see of her, we see a woman who really just keeps calm and carries on despite all the blows life is throwing at her. As expected, her immediate family gathers around her during these final days. To make life easier, to show their support and love? Nope. What we get is a bunch of dysfunctional self-centered people who seem more concerned about their own issues than about our heroine and the fact that she is about to leave this life. The premise and the set up makes for a perfect family drama.
Enter Richard (John Hanna), award-winning novelist who wrote a tell-all bestseller about his and Grace marriage. He is also a cheating ex with whom she has a daughter. He appears in the middle of the night and out of the blue – as exes do once you’ve moved on and forgot all about their existence- claiming that she is, oh yeah ! the love of her life . From now onwards he is all about winning her bak. A bit late, but I guess never too late particularly for a Peter Pan type of character who at least shows some genuine empathy and compassion, the one he didn’t have when they were married.John Hanna is just as charming and funny as always and his, together with Anna Chancellor , are the two best performances of this film.
-The best thing about having kids with someone is that you never lose touch with that person- He tells her daughter
Mum says that’s the worse thing- And it could well be in Grace case as Richard turns up with her estranged ex-wife, the woman he left her for. She is not only back into Grace life ,she is also still discussing events that happened between the three of them more than two decades ago. This can make any woman go crazy ,particularly if you are in Grace situation and those around you are acting seriously egotistical . Not Grace, she is self assured and in control and one of those people who due to their sweet nature, end up having the last word when things get difficult. Grace two daughters do get on well as sisters but they seem to lack a bit of empathy towards their mum.Same as her current husband Tom (James Fleet) ,who is more worried about his sexual future than about her wife and her feelings.
The film is character /plot lead and it does have the potential for being a great family drama considering all the characters are pretty dysfunctional people.The potential does never materialise as some of the people who inhabit this film such as the two daughters, the “other woman” and Tom , do lack a bit of depth and substance to them. It is however, a fun, light, entertaining film that doesn’t try to be anything else than that.
Love of my Life will be released in UK cinemas on Friday 17th February 2017