Film Review : Save the Date
● By Justin Buettner
Kevin makes a very public proposal only to be turned down by commitment phobic Sarah. To make things more complicated, Sarah’s sister Beth is engaged to Kevin’s friend Andrew. Sarah immediately finds a new boyfriend Jonathan, a nice guy that is head over heels in love with her. Will Sarah finally let go of her fear of commitment?
Out of all the years independent romance movies, Save the Date is one of the best. That does not mean it’s an outstanding movie, but it comes closest to striking a balance of plot and character that is believable without being unlikable. Lizzy Caplan is tasked with the job of making the character of Sarah interesting, likable, and understandable while doing questionable deeds. Caplan by in large she succeeds. The supporting cast in the film are quite strong as well, especially the duo of Martin Starr and Alison Brie who made a very convincing engaged couple. The best scenes in the film featured these two in intimate talks that just felt ripped from real life. My biggest complaint about the film was that the better story was with the engaged couple of Andrew and Beth and not with the relationship entanglements of the fiercely independent Sarah.
A few things that I felt was very refreshing about Save the Date was that it did not make anyone the bad guy. Too often romance movies makes a fiancé or competing love interest a bad person to the point that I think something is wrong with the lead character for ever falling in love with the “bad guy” in the first place. This film instead revels in the fact that the competing love interests are both good guys. In fact they even like each other. I also liked that the film did not center around one person breaking up another relationship. Because Sarah breaks off the relationship herself before the new one really begins it doesn’t give off the “ick” factor a lot of mainstream Hollywood romance movies do which revolves around cheating.
The story itself is rather small in scope. This was Michael Mohan’s second film, and as an independent writer/director Save the Date focuses on its characters instead of an elaborate plot, action, or locations. Curiously the movie never attempts to say something big, but instead seems content being a light romance which is not a bad thing, but the movie could have been better served with a bit more comedy or some deeper drama inserted. As it is, the movie can be considered slightly bland, neither off-putting or terribly exciting. What most audiences will not like is the ending. Although I didn’t mind the sudden exit, I know most audiences will.
People who like romance movies will find enough to like in Save the Date to find it worth their time. It makes a non-offensive date movie too. But outside that specific audience I don’t think the film will win many fans. Even among people who love the romance genre, the end will disappoint (don’t say I didn’t warn you). I thought this film was better than recent indie offerings like Celeste and Jesse Forever, Silver Linings Playbook and Perks of Being a Wallflower but I will refrain from calling it a good movie, perhaps it’s an okay movie. Although it opens in theaters this Friday, Save the Date can be viewed from home on instant download now. You might be better off saving your money and waiting for cable though.
Films like Save the Date : Celeste and Jesse Forever, When Harry Met Sally, and 500 Days of Summer
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.