Up on the Roof  (15) |Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Ben Hecking, UK, 2022, 90 mins

Cast:  Piotr Adamczyk, Natalia Tena, Deborah Findlay, Nathaniel Parker, Moyo Akandé

Review by Carol Allen

Despite the title, this modest little rom-com never quite takes off and flies.  It does though have a certain charm and some likeable performances.

Most notable of these is Piotr Adamczyk as Stefan, a Polish chef on the verge of middle age, who has been living in London since he was a young man.  His dream is to buy the old fashioned café where he’s been working all those years but he never quite manages to get enough cash together.  Meanwhile he is still sharing a converted warehouse with a group of mates from his youth, including Whale (Nathaniel Parker) and Matt (Griffin Stevens). 

Then by pure chance he bumps into Emily (Natalia Tena), with whom he had a love affair fifteen years ago.  She was the love of his life but they split up and Emily pursued her successful career.  Turns out though she Is still unattached.   So is fate giving him a chance to win her back – and will he succeed?

He spends the rest of the film trying and meanwhile we learn more about Emily, her relationship with her mum Claire (Deborah Findlay) and best friend Kate (Moyo Akandé).

Stefan and Emily share a romantic countryside picnic and Stefan’s catering skills and oddball chums come to the aid of Emily’s friends, when the caterers let them down for a posh charity do.  But that all goes pear shaped for Emily when her long term lover turns up at the do.  She discovers that he’s married, indeed has brought his wife with him and Emily takes her hurt out on Stefan.  Foolish girl.  So is a happy ending still on the cards?   No prizes for guessing.

One of the problems with the film is that first time director Ben Hecking’s script lacks a sense of momentum, tending to wander rather down byways.  Those wanderings do though give us one or rather two of the film’s pluses in the supporting performances of Findlay and Parker, both of whom deserve more screen time. 

Findlay’s reminiscence about how she met Emily’s father is very touching and later there is the suggestion of a budding late life romance between her and the courtly but scruffy long time bachelor Whale, which is borne out in the amusing credits sequence.  Now that could be material for another unusual and promising rom com.