“Love Sarah” (PG) ***
DETERMINED to fulfil her late mother’s dream of opening a bakery in Notting Hill, 19-year-old Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet) enlists the help of her mother’s best friend Isabella (Shelley Conn) and her eccentric estranged grandmother Mimi (Celia Imrie).
Eliza Schroeder’s feature film debut after a small collection of TV short films is short on surprises, long on predictability and overall quite pleasant. Into this gaggle of women, Schroeder and co-writer Jake Brunger insert Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones, who’d energise any red-blooded woman’s Bartholin glands). Is he Clarissa’s biological father? Sarah died without telling.
Every film needs a star. For “Love Sarah”, that’s Mimi, who solves business problems and catches the eye of Felix (Bill Paterson) who’s inventing a new burglar alarm.
One might imagine that Celia Imrie, an actress with an impressive CV (169 cinema and TV roles), who will turn 70 next week, might be reluctant to display time’s ravages on her complexion. Not a bit of it. She plays Mimi with gusto, showing those younger women what’s what when the chips are down. Vanity plays no role in her life and career.
In a world reeling under that nasty virus, a film in which the title character gets reduced to a name on the sign over a Notting Hill cafe serving photogenic sweet cakes to homesick émigrés places Australia a bit low in its rankings – lamington, anybody?
At Palace Electric and Dendy