Movie-making during the pandemic has been a fiddly affair. Between restrictions, shut-downs and travel bans, producing the usual slate of content has been tough, however, the challenges have allowed for a bit of creativity.
Think Martin Sheen and David’s Tennant’s Staged or the upcoming “pandemic heist” movie Locked Down – gradually, the implementation of “production bubbles” has allowed shoots to go ahead in a COVID-safe way.
Australian romantic comedy This Little Love of Mine is one such bubble-embracing project, shot entirely on Queensland’s Far North Coast in July last year, becoming the State’s first feature film to go into production in pandemic conditions.
The G-rated movie tells the story of Laura Price (Saskia Hampele), an accomplished San Francisco lawyer on the cusp of a promotion, who has to return to her small home town when the firm’s biggest client requires her to hand deliver a contract to one of its residents.
Heading back to the tropical island she grew up on, Laura reconnects with her childhood friends Gem and Chip (Liam McIntyre) – who happens to be the client’s grandson and the heir he wants to take over his multi-billion dollar company – and the friends’ reunion makes Laura question her choice to ever move away.
This Little Love of Mine is a very easy watch, almost reminiscent of Sweet Home Alabama in its story of a home-town girl returning to her roots and discovering her high-flying life and fancy fiancé might not be all they’re cracked up to be.
It brings together two characters, in Laura and Chip, who both need to reassess what grounds them, and what life values they’re willing to compromise on. Chip has never been one for the CEO lifestyle, but if it helps him further his community development projects could it be worth it? Laura prizes a serious life of accomplishment, but is she missing something by moving too fast?
You might be able to predict the ending, but the path This Little Love of Mine takes to get there is endearing, and perfectly fit for its family audience.
This Little Love of Mine’s one detractor is that Aussie audiences can spot the recognisable Queensland backdrop and local actors, making it hard to believe you’re on an idyllic island near San Francisco and that all the characters are American.
The switch of nationality was no doubt a choice made to increase international appeal, but This Little Love of Mine could have been that much more lovable if the Australian cast could have made it an Australian story.
This Little Love of Mine is in cinemas now.