The Book of Love
Distributed by: Electric Entertainment
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Sometimes, when you are scrolling through the movie channels, you discover a film you never heard of before. Such was the case when I was looking for something to watch the other day and found a movie called The Book of Love. I may have passed it by except that I noticed it starred Maisie Williams. I love Maisie as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones and wanted to see what she would be like in another less medieval role.
In The Book of Love, Jason Sudeikis is Henry, an architect assigned to help remodel the New Orleans coastline after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Life is looking good for Henry and his wild, artistic wife Penny (Jessica Biel) who are remodeling their house in preparation for the birth of their first child. But then tragedy strikes – Penny is killed in a car accident. Now Henry finds himself alone in a house he had hoped to share with his wife and child, trying to find meaning in his life.
Enter Millie (Maisie Williams), a young girl who Henry has witnessed riding around on her bike, accompanied by her dog, Ahab, going through dumpsters and collecting other people’s trash. Through his contractors Dumbass (Orlando Jones) and Pascal (Richard Robichaux), Henry learns that Millie is not homeless, but actually lives with her alcoholic, abusive uncle (Jayson Warner Smith). Henry can’t understand it, but he feels drawn to Millie, believing he is supposed to help her somehow.
Finding her home, Henry discovers an old journal and plans for a raft inside her garage. Unfortunately, he accidentally burns down the garage when he is spooked by Ahab. Uncle Glenn blames Millie for the damage to his garage and informs her she will be sent to her aunt’s home in Biloxi. Millie runs away. Choosing to overlook his weirdness, Millie decides to accept Henry’s help in building her raft…a raft she plans to use to find her father who left on a raft of his own shortly after her mother died.
People are worried about Henry, especially his mother-in-law (Mary Steenburgen) who is beginning to think Henry is losing his mind after she learns that he has chosen to build a raft for a sixteen-year-old runaway rather than pursue the shoreline project he was hired to complete. She becomes even more worried when she notes that Henry is taking apart his home to make the raft more seaworthy. Has Henry lost his mind, or is there something inexplicable happening to help both Henry and Millie heal from their losses?
The Book of Love didn’t get rave reviews from sites like Rotten Tomatoes, but I am starting to think that sites like Rotten Tomatoes tend to be over-rated. There is something special about this story of two very different people brought together by fate to help each other cope with their respective losses. I knew that Maisie Williams would blow her role out of the park. After all, it isn’t all that far removed from the role she has played on Game of Thrones – a young girl who loses her family and tries to make her way in the world on her own, scared to trust anyone for fear of being let down. Jason Sudeikis was a pleasant surprise. I had never seen him in a mostly dramatic role before this film. I found him to be utterly believable in his role – definitely not what I was expecting. Nor was I expecting the brilliant chemistry between Sudeikis and Williams.
Was The Book of Love the best movie I have ever watched? I’d be lying if I said it was, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t find it incredibly entertaining. I loved the storyline, however implausible it might be to most. I enjoyed the acting in both the dramatic and the comedic moments of the film. And I loved the chemistry between the characters of the film. For that reason, I would definitely recommend The Book of Love to any fan of independent film. It’s definitely worth the watch.