Librarian Bella Brown begins each day with the declaration, "Today, I'm going to make a difference." And by the end of this contemporary fairy tale, she does -- although not by presenting a library member with the right book, at the right time. As it turns out, someone will lend her the right book, at the right time. And then she will write her own.
Bella is an eccentric character. She keeps the interior of her rented flat in London impeccably neat but has let her garden become a mess. This annoys her grumpy neighbor Alfie a great deal. After she falls in a storm, she finds herself on his couch, being tended by a doctor and Alfie's cook, Vernon. Alfie rants at everyone. The next morning, Bella's landlord shows up to inspect the property and gives her one month to clean it up or she will be evicted.
And so it begins. It's a lovely movie. Yes, some things were a bit hasty -- I think the Vernon storyline would have been more plausible had we been given the sense that he and Bella encountered each other regularly -- but it really didn't nag me for long. And I found myself wondering where his extensive legal knowledge came from -- was he a lawyer before he became a cook, or did he just really like reading up on the law? Did I miss something? Minor quibbles. I loved the growth of the relationships among Bella, Alfie, and Vernon.
Charming as he was, I felt myself empathizing with the head librarian regarding Bella's love interest, Billy. When the librarian tells you that eating is not allowed in the library, don't bring a messy sandwich and eat it at a library table, surrounded by several old books. Sheesh. And I wish the scene where Billy invites Bella back to his home had been done differently. That aside, Jessica Brown Findlay
(Bella) and Jeremy Irvine
(Billy) were adorable together.
Dry humor is sprinkled throughout the movie and I loved every bit of it. The librarian in charge of Bella's workplace alternates between spelling out admonishments on a letter board and using the PA system when she's particularly frustrated with people talking in the library. Alfie, expertly played by Tom Wilkenson
, has the best lines. Vernon, played by Andrew Scott
(Moriarty on Sherlock
), has the best facial expressions.
If you enjoy a good fairy tale every now and then, give this dvd a try. And, if you like it, please share your favorite Alfie quotes in the comments!
Becky likes to read … A LOT. When she’s not reading, she likes to pretend that she can garden. Her favorite books are