By Laurie Coker

Rating: D+

Rarely does a film host six directors. But Hopeless Romantic, a film about treading through the ups and downs of romance does.  Directed by a group of women from the East Coast of Canada, Deanne Foley, Martine Blue, Stephanie Clattenburg, Latonia Hartery, Ruth Lawrence, and Megan Wennberg, Hopeless Romantic has great potential, but often plays off clichés and stock storytelling. It misses almost every beat for humor, relatability, and significance.

The core of the story takes place at a wedding, where cardiologist Anna (Lynda Boyd) practices to deliver a wedding toast, something that she dreads because she finds herself completely alone. Recently widowed, Anna, hovers outside the reception where she meets other women with tales to tell. Her story is the simplest and seemingly most hopeless – her critically ill husband dies, and a brief connection between her and her husband’s physiotherapist quickly fizzles, until that is, he sits at the same table at the same wedding.

The film’s co-writer/directors flashback to each woman’s love story – from the insanely embarrassing to the painfully heartbreaking, each tale reveals widely diverse romance pitfalls that befall extremely different women. In an effort to be relevant and timely the directors end up with an overly simplistic mass of romance platitudes. Among others, there are an older woman in a fling with a younger man, a teen who pines after her female tutor, another young woman whose attraction crosses racial differences, a woman who blatantly trades men like baseball cards, a new divorcee, and Anna who falls for her husband’s caregiver and each tell their tales of love, loss, betrayal, and heartbreak. Little plays fresh in Hopeless Romantic.

Instead of clever, entertaining vignettes, we get blandly depicted and frankly, mediocrely acted shorts. The diversity of their stories does little to ignite interest or evoke empathy – they are just too bleh. One would think that with so many women on board, particularly behind the pen and the camera, the film would have more substance but it does not. Better actors probably could not have done more to make the film interesting and the B (or C) level quality of the film make it a struggle to watch. Hopeless Romantic earns a D+ in the grade book.

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