The rom-com genre is one that certainly has had its fair share of classics over the last few decades. Love Actually and Notting Hill have become classics of the genre and are now seens as the gold standard for British rom-coms. However, there is a new film ready to join the romantic comedy pantheon and that is the excellent Rye Lane.
Set in South London, the film follows two youngsters (Dom and Yas, played by David Jonsson and Vivian Oparah) reeling from bad breakups who connect over an eventful day.
With a simplistic story that takes place primarily over the course of one day, the film allows the two lead characters to live in the moment and have time to breathe in between the hilarious hijinks.
Jonsson and Oparah are excellent in the film too; they both play their roles perfectly. Their chemistry and comedic timing is perfect and they have such a great screen presence that makes the brisk 82 minute runtime fly by! Both Dom and Yas feel like real people that you know in your everyday life so they are characters that are very easy to connect with on-screen.
Raine Allen-Miller also directs the film with such passion and has a clear love for the South London area. The use of bright colours, music and food is on display throughout the film and the movie is a love letter to London as much as it is a rom-com. There is a clear joy leaping off the screen and the love for the characters as well as the setting is incredibly clear.
The costume design is excellent too. Every character has a unique outfit they wear in the film and they all stand out and act as a contrast to each other. What is also interesting is that the costumes also help create meaning as to how the character is feeling emotionally which added a nice touch to the characters.
Rye Lane is a joy of a film. Directed with clear passion and heart, it is as much of a love letter to South London as it is a rom-com. Allen-Miller has made an excellent feature debut that is definitely a rom-com classic in the making. It has a unique style that I have never seen in a romance movie before that certainly makes it stand out. The cast are all excellent, especially Jonsson and Oparah who have amazing chemistry, and everyone has a moment to shine. It's a great feel-good movie that demands to be seen in a cinema.
Rye Lane screened at this year's Manchester International Film Festival and will release in cinemas on March 17th, 2023.