In the old world, country girl Alma (Gemma Arterton) is loved by three boys; Leo, Bruno, and Zvi. She makes Leo promise to write about his love for her. In 2006 NYC, Léo Gursky (Derek Jacobi) is a grumpy old retired locksmith. He is trying to contact his estranged author son over his autobiography and desperate to find a book called, "The History of Love". Bruno Leibovitch (Elliott Gould) is his neighbor friend. Alma Singer (Sophie Nélisse) is named after the Alma in the book. Her mother Charlotte (Torri Higginson) and her late father fell in love with the book. Her little brother believes himself to be one of the 36 righteous Lamed Vovnik in Judaism and is building an ark. She's in love with Russian boy Misha but she insists on staying friends. Her mother is hired to translate "The History of Love" into english.
I know nothing about the book. I'm sure it's a romantic epic. This film is ambitious in its ideas. This could be a great movie concentrating on Leo. There is this story about Alma Singer which does not measure up to the epic romanticism of Leo's story. Adapting from a novel is often ambitious especially when the adapter is reluctant to use an ax to chop out sections. Alma Singer's story is probably necessary for the book but not for the movie. With a great veteran like Jacobi, this needs to trust his ability to take over the screen. It needs to be a character study of this grumpy old man. This could have been amazing but it needs someone more daring in adapting the material.
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