Talking Movies: Faraway, RRR and Love, Guaranteed

Spling reviews Faraway, RRR and Love Guaranteed as broadcast on Talking Movies, Fine Music Radio. Listen to podcast.


Good morning – welcome to Talking Movies, I’m Spling…

This week, we’re talking about a romance comedy drama, an action adventure epic and a romantic comedy.

Starting off with a film now on Netflix…


A woman escapes to an idyllic Croatian island, where her deceased mother bought a house long ago.

Director: Vanessa Jopp

Stars: Naomi Krauss, Goran Bogdan and Adnan Maral

Faraway is a romance comedy drama in the vein of Shirley Valentine, The Durrells and The Good Life as an unhappily married woman breaks free from her domestic strife to take a long overdue holiday. Instead of Greece, we’re whisked away to a beautiful Croatian coastline where Zeynep discovers an unexpected guest. Co-leads, Krauss and Bogdan, have wonderful on-screen chemistry that informs their rickety feud-turned-friendship. Krauss isn’t as peppy as Pauline Collins but makes a refreshing lead who softens as she allows sunshine back into her life. Bogdan is a mix of Ray Romano and Gerard Depardieu, capturing the down-to-earth charm and bridge troll temperament of a man content with the simple life. While Faraway leans quite heavily on the genre, what makes it special is its authentic feel and spirited performances. Shot on location in Germany and Croatia, the breathtaking vistas and deep blue ocean underpin the film’s escapist holiday ambitions and travelogue vibrations. Coupled with an unknown cast, Faraway has an earthiness that distinguishes it from contemporaries. A heartfelt tale, Faraway remains entertaining with good humour, steady pacing and a bittersweet undertone. Rarely a false moment, the film’s authenticity, down-to-earth cast and spirited performances give it a rustic charm and inspired candour.

A solid 7!

Moving on to a movie now on Netflix…


Two legendary revolutionaries on either side of British-occupied India band together to fight for their country in the 1920s.

Writer-Director: S.S. Rajamouli

Stars: N.T. Rama Rao Jr., Ram Charan and Ajay Devgn

This vivid fictional action adventure epic pulsates as mythology and history intersect. RRR is spectacular, a grand and visually-enticing movie that blends the visual effects majesty of today’s superhero universe with the gung-ho valour of war comic books. Instead of battling Nazi scum, RRR takes aim at the British Raj. This extreme prejudice is meant to be subverted by one character’s naive yet levelheaded sentiment but does turn RRR into a fierce and pulpy depiction. While this larger-than-life adventure doesn’t aim for realism, the historical context does add fuel to the fire, redoubling its impassioned edge to the point of propaganda as the heroes rise roar and revolt in response to numerous acts of oppression and injustice. A visual extravaganza, RRR doesn’t shy away from large scale action sequences. The movie’s soundtrack packs a punch too, making this is a visceral cinematic experience, which includes some entertaining Bollywood song and dance. A 3 hour run time, RRR works hard to keep audiences transfixed through its audio-visual panache, channeling two lively co-lead performances into a colourful, epic and windswept myth. While it has similarities with the dusty yet glorious sports drama, Lagaan, the action adventure’s superhero treatment and supersize sentiment sends it over the top. RRR fights to hold your attention with some breathtakingly beautiful and powerful scenes, however it is somewhat constrained by its flaws when it comes to storytelling. The two-dimensional handling of the British limits nuance, contrivances affect story integrity and even hair and make up have a bearing on a lead character and the film’s timeline and sense of continuity. Still, RRR is fierce, impassioned and visceral, an epic and ridiculously entertaining spectacle.

A solid 7!

And finally a movie on Netflix…


An earnest lawyer takes on a charming new client who wants to sue a dating website that guarantees love.

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Stars: Rachael Leigh Cook, Damon Wayans Jr. and Heather Graham

While the basic premise is plausible, going on almost 1,000 dates to prove that love is not guaranteed through an online dating application is an overreach. Perhaps the filmmakers were simply trying to make the story more cinematic by raising the stakes to breaking point. Whatever the ploy, the movie relies on the charm of its cast and sense of humour to get by, forging ahead with a comfortably numb and predictable romance. The “speed dating” concept is fun with its array of unsuitable partners and the idea of a down-on-her-luck lawyer taking on a corporate has its appeal. However, as sweet and funny as it can be, Love, Guaranteed is a heavy-handed misfire that could’ve used more script development, thoughtful direction and a stringent edit. A beat-up Volkswagen unwittingly becomes emblematic of Love, Guaranteed as they struggle to get a handle on a dreamy old school romance comedy with a few retro charms. The lightweight and breezy movie isn’t aiming for Nora Ephron ideals but could’ve been so much better if its story had more grounding. As it stands, Love, Guaranteed is a lightweight gamble, which while gently entertaining and even spunky starts and finishes with more dumb than fun.

A flimsy 4!

So just to wrap up…

FARAWAY… an authentic, heartfelt and picturesque romance comedy drama with charming and spirited co-leads… A solid 7!

RRR… a fierce, impassioned and visually-spectacular action adventure epic that’s both compelled and restrained by its fervour… A solid 7!

LOVE, GUARANTEED… a charming cast, retro appeal and fun banter are no match for a predictable story, heavy-handed direction and an over-the-top concept… A flimsy 4!

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