What to Watch Verdict
'Book of Love' is a predictable yet fun new rom-com, but is the ideal film to watch if you're in need of a bit of lighthearted escapism.
Sam Claflin and Verónica Echegui are good at playing "opposites attract" types
There are some genuinely laugh out loud moments
If you want escapism, it's the perfect film for that
Relies heavily on rom-com clichés at times
Some of the side characters feel unnecessary
It's predictable, but a fun story
Book of Love has just arrived on Prime Video, ready to whisk viewers away to Mexico to follow an English author on a new book tour. It's a predictable story, but that doesn't stop it from being enjoyable to watch.
The film follows the uptight, yet oddly charming Henry (Sam Claflin), following the publication of his new book The Sensible Heart. It's not exactly a New York Times bestseller, so he's surprised when the novel is a massive hit over in Mexico. But there's a shocking reason for this and something that Henry is not happy about!
It turns out that his book has been completely rewritten by his Spanish translator Maria (Verónica Echegui), turning it from a dull story into an erotic novel that has taken Mexican fans by storm. As a result of this, he has an entirely different reputation over there to the one he planned on making for himself, and he's furious at Maria.
Henry and Maria couldn't be more different; he's uptight and reserved, whereas Maria is a headstrong, hard-working single mom who has no problems being honest with people. In fact, defending her decision to change the novel she told Henry she had only amended "the boring parts". Awkward...
The duo is brought together through their love of writing, as Maria has always wanted to be a professional writer and resents working in a bar. It's tender moments like this that see them forming an unlikely connection, finding love in unexpected places and ways.
This dynamic between Henry and Maria is definitely fun to watch, with Sam Claflin (Enola Holmes, Peaky Blinders) and Verónica Echegui (Trust, Fortitude) leading the cast well as we follow them during Henry's awkward and chaotic book tour. There's plenty of misadventure along the way with screaming fans, embarrassing interviews and some darker truths that the pair learn about each other, such as Henry's admission that he's never been in love before.
There are a lot of side characters who come and go as well, with some scenes feeling as though they didn't really need to be there. Many of these characters do feel disposable, and it's quite clear that the focus of the story wants to be on our two unlikely lovers.
To advance the plot, Book of Love relies on some typical clichés such as opposites attract, going on a (quite literal) journey of self-discovery and reaching a satisfying conclusion that's almost too convenient. It's worth watching if you're already a fan of the genre (or, of Sam Claflin), but it doesn't do much to stand out from the myriad of other rom-coms out there.
Having said that, the film is an enjoyable watch and a perfect bit of escapism —especially when you take a look at where it's filmed. The Mexico shots on-location are simply beautiful and there are plenty of fun scenes where Henry begins to immerse himself in Mexican culture and learn more about why they love the translated version of his book as much as they do. The film is lively and joyful in places, showing Henry that there's so much more to life than what he's forced himself to become comfortable with.
It's certainly a hopeful film that will raise your spirits by the end, but you'd be forgiven if you forget most of the plot points down the line. Book of Love is predictable, yet fun and it's worth sticking on if you want to cosy up and escape reality for a couple of hours.
Book of Love is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video and will be available from Feb. 12 on Sky Cinema.
Lucy joined the WhatToWatch.com team in 2021, where she writes series guides for must-watch programmes, reviews and the latest TV news. Originally from Northumberland, she graduated from Oxford Brookes University with a degree in Film Studies and moved to London to begin a career writing about entertainment.
She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved film critic and has a huge passion for cinema. She especially loves horror, thriller and anything crime-related. Her favourite TV programmes include Inside No 9, American Horror Story, Stranger Things and Black Mirror but she is also partial to a quiz show or a bit of Say Yes to the Dress!