- Movie Rating -

A Little Romance (1979); ★★★

| April 27, 1979

When I heard the bare bones plot synopsis of A Little Romance, the story of two teenagers in Paris who fall in love, my brain went immediately to The Blue Lagoon.  More often than not, in the late 70s, when young people fall in love in the movies, they do so at the urging of studio execs who are nearing retirement age and use the sexually curious nubile teens as a way to filter their fantasies.

Thankfully, A Little Romance avoids that trap.  Here is a nice, sweet little picture about a pair of bright kids who are about five years younger than the shipwrecked lovers in Blue Lagoon, who travel across Europe and get into adventures together.  The refreshing thing is that the movie treats them as human beings.  The script lets them talk, albeit very often in cutesy dialogue, and in many ways tries to establish a fantasy that most of us have, of finding The Great Love of Your Life early enough that it can mature you and get you ready for what is to come.

The story involves 13-year-old Daniel (Thelonious Bernard) who lives in Paris and whose dad is a cab driver and works so much that he hardly has time for his son.  So, bereft of a present father-figure goes to the movies, where he has found his passion.  His adventure begins when he sneaks onto a Hollywood location film shoot and sees Broderick Crawford (playing himself) working on a scene.  But his head is turned by pretty young American named Lauren (played by a young Diane Lane) who is more interested in books than movies.

They like each other and they arrange to meet one another, and are chaperoned by an elderly Parisian man named Julius (Laurence Olivier, whose performance is the film’s only real clang).  When the two young lovers meet, they agree to travel together to kiss under a bridge where, legend has it, the two lovers will be together forever – I love that kind of innocent romantic idealism.

Needless-to-say you either go with this story or you don’t and I did.  It’s like one of those harmless preteen romance novels that the girls in elementary school were forever reading, but the two actors are engaging and have a wonderful chemistry together so you don’t really mind.  Their adventure is not to be believed for one solitary second but I bought the fantasy.  I like the way that Daniel and Lauren have that idea of romance in the way that only kids their age would.  This is a little film, a charming little film.  It’s not for everyone but I liked it.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1979) View IMDB Filed in: Drama
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