Review by Sean Boelman
Written and directed by Vicky Wight from the novel of the same name by Katherine Center, The Lost Husband is a new maudlin romantic drama. However, no matter how unbelievable the film may be, it’s an entirely pleasant and serviceable watch, especially for audiences who like overly sentimental movie such as this.
The film follows a woman whose husband recently passed away as she moves with her children to her estranged aunt’s goat farm, finding herself unexpectedly attracted to a charismatic farmhand. As is the case with most adaptations of romance novels, it’s an inoffensive movie that promises something a bit deeper with its premise, but never goes beyond the surface.
Wight easily could have taken the material and went a bit deeper with the film’s exploration of the themes of grief and mourning, but this only takes up a small portion of the runtime. Instead, it is shoehorned in as an inciting incident, with reference to it made every once in a while to remind the audience why the characters are in this situation anyway.
The character development in the movie is definitely lacking in depth, but it does meet the bare minimum to keep the viewer invested in the core romance. Although this is probably more the fault of the source material than Wight’s script, archetypes and other conveniences are taken with the characters, and as a result, the film feels pretty generic.
That said, Wight does a very good job of giving the movie some solid narrative momentum. The film has a built-in audience of people who enjoy watching melodramas (it plays out like a made-for-television drama featuring former A-list stars), and it delivers the exact brand of not-too-heavy drama that those viewers will expect.
The strong cast also makes the movie stand out among similar titles. Leslie Bibb is a compelling lead, and while she cracks under the pressure of the more demanding moments (those which require her character to grieve), she has a solid screen presence. Her chemistry with love interest Josh Duhamel is also impressive.
Additionally, Wight effectively utilizes the film’s Texan shooting locations to provide a picturesque background for the movie. One likely wouldn’t think of a goat farm as an aesthetically-attractive place for a film to take place, but it works, and will likely expand the movie beyond its core audience by a bit.
The Lost Husband isn’t a great film, but it’s better than most of the genre. Few people will remember watching the movie long after the credits roll, but it’s diverting entertainment for the hour and forty-five minutes it lasts.
The Lost Husband hits VOD on April 10.
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