Love - It's Just Not Cricket
For budding cricketer Bob Blair (Ryan O'Kane) there is only one thing he loves more than swinging bat at ball and that is his girlfriend Nerissa (Rose McIver) who he asks to marry him. Unfortunately their plans are met with opposition from Nerissa's parents especially her mother who is a devout catholic and forbids her from marrying anyone outside of the Catholic faith. It leads to a rocky patch for Bob and Nerissa as he refuses to convert to Catholicism just to marry but having been selected to represent New Zealand at cricket in South Africa they manage to sort things out between them with Bob promising to hit Nerissa a six. But whilst Bob is in South Africa things become difficult at home for Nerissa and she leaves ending up on a train which heads for the bridge at Tangiwai which had been hit by a giant wave.
I am not a fan of cricket so when I say the name Bob Blair means nothing to me I hope it won't be a surprise. But his story or at least the one in "Tangiwai: A Love Story" is not so much about him as a cricketer but his relationship with girlfriend Nerissa. Now with this being based on a true story what happens is known but I should say spoiler here as this love story has a touch of the Nicholas Sparks about it with a troubled romance which sadly ends in tragedy.
I just mentioned Nicholas Sparks and in a way "Tangiwai: A Love Story" reminds me of "The Notebook" with this story being set in the 1953 where attitudes are different to now. As such it has that nostalgic look but also those attitudes from the era as Bob and Nerissa despite being in love have to deal with her parent's, especially her mother's intervention in their romance. As such we have a mix of trials and tribulations but also a fair share of romantic moments, from declarations of love to an amusing bedroom tryst all of which is handled with a pleasant amount of charm and minimal melodrama.
Of course I mentioned the word tragedy and for those who are unaware the clue is in the movies title as Tangiwai refers to a tragic rail accident. Now I won't go in to detail because I am sure there are many who don't know the story either of Tangiwai or Bob and Nerissa but it does end in tragedy. It is at this point when the cricket comes into the picture a bit more as Bob learns of the tragedy whilst playing cricket for New Zealand in South Africa and after understandably withdrawing from the game returns at the last minute.
All of which comes together in an effective manner and as I already mentioned feels very much in style with a Nicholas Sparks movie as it mixes romance and tragedy but in this case based on a true story. What stands out about "Tangiwai: A Love Story" is that not only does it have a fantastic nostalgic look but the acting especially from Ryan O'Kane and Rose McIver is brilliant. There is no ego to their performances just two young actors doing an effective job of playing this young couple who are very much in love.
What this all boils down to is that "Tangiwai: A Love Story" is based on a true story but has an appeal which should play well with fans of movie adaptations of Nicholas Sparks novels.