TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Usually, comparing your current relationship with one from the past is a theoretical exorcise. The romantic drama "She is Love" is about a man who's confronted with the need to do it in real-time.
Patricia (Haley Bennett) visits a country hotel in Cornwall, and runs into her ex-husband. Idris (Sam Riley), who runs the place with his girlfriend, Louise (Marisa Abela).
What starts off as an awkward confrontation gradually melts into a grudging acceptance, then begins to stir up unresolved feelings.
Writer/director Jamie Adams ("Love Spreads," "Venice at Dawn") tells a stirring tale that pulses with heartache, nostalgia and dormant feelings sent aflutter.
There is still more than an ember of the old flame left between Idris and Patricia, and the more time they spend together, the more obvious it becomes that the couple's lack of closure is a real threat Idris's relationship with Louise.
Through snippets of shared glances, dialogue and pregnant pauses, the history between Idris and Patricia seems to loom so large that it starts to choke out the present and possible future between Idris and Louise. The most unpredictable character arc comes in Louise, who vascilates among bemusement, jealousy, resentment and apathy. A powerhouse turn by Abela, who impressed in the HBO series "Industry," is what gives the film the most of its intrigue.
Part bittersweet love letter, part hopeful treatise on paused romance, part rumination on fleeting passion, "She is Love" is a thoughtful exploration of complicated feelings.
To play this game is to face truths characters had been avoiding, and the promise of the future only comes at the expense of comfort and presumptions. The plight of Iris, Patricia and Louise is one of urgency and mutually assured heartache.
RATING: 3 stars out of 4.
Phil Villarreal is the senior real-time editor for KGUN 9. He is also a digital producer and host of "Phil on Film" seen weekly on Good Morning Tucson, Phil moved to KGUN after 17 years with the Arizona Daily Star. He is married and has four children. Share your story ideas and important issues with Phil by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.