I’m “biast” (con): …but haven’t been a fan of Katherine Heigl
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
Ryan (Ben Barnes: Seventh Son) is a modern-day traveling hobo-slash-musician. (It might sound unlikely, but it works for him… and for the film.) Jackie (Katherine Heigl: New Year’s Eve) is a former country-music star going through a rough divorce. They do not fall in love. Or, well, maybe they do, a little bit, but that isn’t the point of the beautifully sketched friendship-plus that develops between them after a chance meeting throws them together in a way they both almost walk away from. The point is how they help each other find new depths in themselves and new paths for their lives. If Jackie & Ryan (aka Love Me Like You Do in the U.K.) is a romance, it is of a gentle, bittersweet, grownup variety that doesn’t pretend that every connection has to be a grand, sweeping, happily-ever-after thing but just might be what you need right now. The second feature from writer and director Ami Canaan Mann, this is a lovely little film, rough around the edges with pain and regret of roads taken and not taken yet buoyed with hope for a better tomorrow, though even that is not certain. It’s also got some damn good folky-country music performed by Barnes and Heigl. It’s great to see her playing an authentic woman for once, instead of a rom-com cartoon; and it’s great to see him in a role that takes advantage of his musical talent.