Overall, Lover's Knot was interesting and entertaining and certainly much better than expected considering the low rating and mixed reviews. It's not a great movie and could have been executed better, but once you stick with it it is not a bad movie at all.
The photography is rather crude at times, especially in the first half, which gives Lover's Knot a slightly rushed low-budget look. The last third lays it on a little too thickly with the silliness and froth, with some of the characters behaving irrationally compared to the rest of the movie, and the Steve-Cheryl story strand lacks the warmth and focus of the rest of the story and at times a little random. Lover's Knot biggest problem for me though was the first five minutes, this review has mentioned that the movie doesn't get off to the most promising of starts but that's putting it kindly. In fact the first five minutes are so horribly cheesy that it's embarrassing, enough to make one want to switch it off and watch something else, but as a huge Tim Curry fan and as somebody who never judges a film/movie without seeing the whole thing(no matter the temptation) I never was going to do that.
If however you stick with Lover's Knot, even if the movie still isn't to your tastes you'll find that beyond this point and once things get going that the movie gets much better. The scenery is nice, the music is bright and breezy and puts one in a good mood and the movie's pacing neither feels rushed or dull. The very funny and tonally wry script(with the exception of some moments of banal college humour, like the argument of who takes out the garbage), some of Curry's quips raise a good laugh and the meaning of love interview and Steve's room mate are breaths of fresh air too, and the suitably restrained direction work just fine too. The script also succeeds in providing a good deal of insightful observation and surprising amounts of heart. And while there are a couple of story elements that have been done to death(i.e. lovers in jeopardy), Lover's Knot manages to give these familiar elements a freshness, and the execution of the story helps.
Lover's Knot's story conceptually was very interesting but when hearing it described as a mish-mash of documentary, past-life flashbacks and Shakespeare quips etc., it immediately gives off the impression that if executed wrongly it would come over as too weird and confusing. Actually it was executed quite cleverly and wasn't hard to follow at all. The kookiness present in the movie was refreshing, the movie is smart and funny in its dialogue and in the sweeter moments it doesn't become too syrupy. The characters on the most part are reasonably likable, as long as you don't expect three-dimensional, complex ones(it's not that kind of film), nor do the characters come over as too cardboard either. The cast add a huge deal here, Tim Curry is great fun while Billy Campbell and Jennifer Grey are charming, Kristin Minter is amusing and Adam Baldwin plays smarmy to perfection.
Overall, starts off badly, but if you stick with it Lover's Knot while never a great movie gets much better and is worth seeing. 6/10 Bethany Cox