With Mother’s Day around the corner, “Love Sarah” is a perfectly timed release as it explores the bond between a grandmother, her estranged granddaughter and her late daughter’s best friend.
“Love Sarah” opens with the untimely passing of Sarah Curachi (Candice Brown), a celebrated chef, in a cycling accident.
At the time of her passing, Sarah was about to open a bakery in a bustling, cosmopolitan section of Notting Hill, London, with her best friend and business partner, Isabella (Shelley Conn).
Of course, the tragedy left a grieving Isabella in a financial predicament. Meanwhile, Sarah’s mum, Mimi (Celia Imrie), is even more tormented by the fact that she never got to make amends with her daughter.
Then there is 18-year old dance student Clarissa (Shannon Tarbet), who, aside from being torn up by her mother’s passing, is battling a few internal demons. Not long after, her boyfriend breaks up with her and throws her out of their apartment. She ends up moving in with Mimi.
And so the three generations of women are left broken for different reasons; one is homeless, another is facing bankruptcy while the oldest is racked with insurmountable guilt.
With nothing to lose, the three of them end up joining forces to keep Sarah’s dream alive. And it becomes an incredibly therapeutic journey for them.
Mimi learns to forgive and love again. In hiring Sarah’s dashing Michelin-star ex-boyfriend Matthew (Rupert Penry-Jones), Isabella allows herself to fall in love.
Clarissa, despite being in the dark about the identity of her biological father, finds purpose and direction thanks to her new “family”.
“Love Sarah” follows a similar blueprint to “Chef”, “No Reservations”, “Julie and Julia” and “Chocolat” – it is perfectly seasoned with drama, love, laughter, pain and tears.
Eliza Shroeder is a young director planting her feet in the industry with a handful of projects under her belt.
But she does a commendable job in juggling several intricate storylines while ensuring her talented cast gets ample scope to shine.
She underpins the heavy drama with light, sweet moments that leave the viewer feeling warm and fuzzy and rooting for the success of the characters.
With decadent treats an integral part of the story, Shroeder doesn’t shy away from putting on a tantalising display of pastry porn.
Imrie is an industry legend and it is evident in her stellar performance.
Her character Mimi evolves from a stubborn mother who follows a rigid routine to one who is ambitious, adventurous, compassionate and a tad daring, too.
If anything, she proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks, so to speak.
Conn and Tarbet exude much warmth and sincerity in their respective roles, too.
Given the pervading sadness brought on by Covid-19, “Love Sarah” is a gentle reminder of the power of love in times of grief and the importance of trusting your existing “family” circle.
The feel-good drama is a celebration of life and inspires hope. It will warm the cockles of your heart.
“Love Sarah” is showing at cinemas, nationwide.