o instead of one of my dystopian movies, one recent Friday night I selected one I thought JB would like, Book of Love, an Amazon flick from 2022.
Well, she liked it. I was amused by it, but the more I thought about it, the madder I got.
So, the plot is this: Henry Copper is a very nebbish author who has spent five years on a novel that nobody likes. He wrote it from his own heart, his cold suffering lonely heart, reaching out to those like him. It is a book about chaste and unfulfilled love.
The book is a flop everywhere but Mexico. In that, he’s sent on a three city book tour there, and will be guided and assisted by the woman who translated his book for him, bar-worker and single mom Maria Rodríguez. Of course, at the first stop, it becomes apparent from enthusiastic and orgasmic female crowd that what they read is not what Henry wrote. Turns out that his translator added sex-scenes galore. And Henry’s publisher knows this, and tells him to go with it.
Okay, so, first thoughts? Maria, find your own book to write.
This plot has a lot of things I really didn’t like. That literature should always (and will always) bow down to pop culture. That profit is everything. And that Henry, by character design (thoughtful, shy) is deficient against Maria (vibrant, hard-working). To Maria, corrupting someone else’s life work is fine, since you can always throw the excuse that you are a single-parent low-income worker.
What really annoyed me about the entire thing was when, at the end, Henry and Maria must collaborate on a follow up book in ten weeks. Forced together, this should be the time that they shine, that Henry’s experience comes to the fore. But no, Maria cuts off his every suggestion, bulldozing through his contributions. In the end, she storms out because of a misunderstanding (concerning her sleazy husband, which she could have simply explained but went all high-end drama on it) and Henry writes the final chapter himself.
I’d like to think that in this moment, he proclaims his love for her through his words, that she learns of his deep ability to love around his own personal hurt. That finally, finally, finally Henry’s writing ability shines through. But no, she sulks. He thinks it over and his balls fall off – he calls his publisher and puts her ending back in, even giving her co-writer acknowledgement on the cover.
And Henry caved, lost, and was beaten in every step of the process.
In the credits, there is an additional scene of Maria coming onto a stage, now having written her own book (see, Maria, it wasn’t that hard) and Henry clapping meekly from the wings.
Book of Love, while cute, was the typical pro-female simplistic formula that we saw in other movies like Pretty Woman, where a hard working girl somehow is superior to an experienced, thoughtful man. That emotions somehow top commitment (Footnote – in the script for Pretty Woman, there was supposed to be a scene when we realize that Julia Roberts actually has a cocaine addiction. That character flaw was Disney’d away).
Maybe I’m reading too much into this. But yes, I’ve been an unsuccessful author too, and given the choice between fading gracefully or being used to springboard someone else’s career, I know which way I’d go. Even if the other person was a charismatic Mexican woman.