East End Film Festival: Love is Thicker Than Water – Review

Love. What is love? (Baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.)

As humans, we are often thrown together in throes of passion and lust only to have it develop into security and safety. We look at another person and their squishy bits, feel a tingles all over our body, and all of a sudden it’s “I want your face to be around me all the time,” or “let’s inhabit a space together.”

Of course, love and relationships don’t come without obstacles. The biggest pitfalls usually revolve around money and, you know, having the same face around you all the time. Oh, and don’t forget about family!


Love is Thicker than Water, billed as a modern telling of Romeo and Juliet, revolves around Vida and Arthur who are trying to navigate all these issues and more. Coming from two different backgrounds, the pair meet out on the dance-floor and instantly hit it off. As they try to steer their little metaphorical ship through life, they have to contend with their very unique classes of family clashing over the couple’s love as well as Vida and Arthur getting used to each other’s quirks and natures. Can the pair survive the turmoil-ridden sea? Will love prevail?

Directed by Emily Harris and Ate de Jong (guys, that’s the genius who gave us Drop Dead Fred!), Love is Thicker than Water is a surprisingly diluted affair. While there is a sense of realism and all the chaotic elements that comes with it, the directing pair and a script by Jong seems to tiptoe around the trickier subjects, making this romantic drama somewhat shallow. Echoes of black comedy and visceral emotions are peppered throughout the film that yearns to go another level deeper into the humanity, pain, and struggle of relationships. The almost tepid portrayal of being seems scared and therefore comes across somewhat lifeless….ironically.

The disappointing overall dry film has positive moments throughout. About Time’s Lydia Wilson and musician Johnny Flynn do their best to work with the script. Their chemistry is utterly believable, fleshing out a relationship in a believable resonance that you almost feel as though the acting duo are, in fact, in the precipice of aching, humanistic love. With a group of formidable thespians around them including Game of Thrones alumni Ellie Kendrick and Juliet Stevenson, the family of the rambunctious pair are loving additions that help drive the plot forward of the film – albeit, at times, in sorrow and tragedy.

Love is Thicker than Water is an average romantic garb that luckily has excellent main players at the centre of it. Whilst you may have seen better movies on the same subject (and you’ve certainly seen worse,) there is a cute element to the film that will sway you into watching. The biggest attraction to the film, however, is the relatability. For anyone who has lived and loved (so, like, all of us?) there is a nature to this film that allows you to sink into it, remembering every person that has ever graced your life.

In that instance, Love is Thicker than Water is phenomenal.


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