June 5, 2023

Love me till Monday – Why aren’t more films set in Reading?

Will Love me Till Monday do for Reading what Notting Hill did for Notting Hill? Tourists might not flock to the city to see the record shop where Jim the Shopkeeper (played by Jim the Shopkeeper) sells vintage toys, but the local museum might get a few extra visitors. After all, the film makes clear that you don’t have to go all the way to Bayeux to see the Bayeux tapestry. Reading has a full-size copy in a purpose-built gallery.

Love me till Monday is written and created by Justin Hardy, Muireann Price and Jack Fishburn. Hardy also directs whilst the others produce. Mostly they have created an engaging tale of relationships with two main characters with whom you can enjoy spending time.

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25 year old Becky lives in a house with unexplained marker pen drawings on the wall. It is where she grew up, her mother lives there, (although is away for the duration of the film), as does her 11 year old brother who spends his time wearing a military helmet and playing video games. Georgia Macguire gives Becky the attitude of a more laid-back Frances Ha, with a wistful yearning for something more.

Very hand-held camera work introduces Becky, her office and co-workers. Their interactions, romantic and otherwise are quickly the focus. So and so fancies so and so. But so does so and so. What shall I wear? Am I over-dressed? I thought so and so would be here… It is a life of office cliques, office secrets and office bullies, the setting where many people in this Scepter’d Isle try and find true love.

Steve is another well-drawn character, played by Tim Plester. He’s the boss, struggling with an outsider personality and dress sense issues, who happily embraces his awkwardness. The writers have given him the best dialogue of the film and Plester’s delivery adds to the pleasure of comments such as ‘Reading has become enslaved to the conquistadors of the chain stores.’

But it’s not all twenty-something relationships, well-shot bokeh and Reading backdrops. Early on there is a misplaced scene which gives a wrong impression of the way the film will go. Becky tells HIM, played by Royce Pierreson to wait one minute as they are about to kiss – something she’s wanted for a while. She then runs to the bathroom and cleans her teeth, shaves her legs, puts on makeup, perfume, etc. It’s an amusing montage, but when she returns to the party her rival is heading out with HIM. This plot-changing scene suggests playful silliness will continue throughout, but actually the film returns to realism. Peculiar onion burning scenes also suggest a direction that doesn’t develop, as Becky appears to seek meaning where meaning will not be found.

Convenient plotting devices such as the disappearance of HIM for a couple of weeks is a little obvious, whilst even a gauche boss couldn’t really believe that an 11 year old boy would be remotely interested in the gift Becky buys him. But the soundtrack, featuring songs from Will Cookson, A Genuine Freakshow and Jake Hughes helps the story along.

Tequila shots in nightclubs and awkward work-place romances may seem like inconsequential subjects, but Macguire makes Becky’s perfectly normal life absorbing. It may not be vital viewing, but Love me till Monday is a warm and honest look at the difficulties of young adulthood everywhere.

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