I wanted to hate this, I really did. I'm on the sharp end of a divorce so going into a romantic comedy for me, well it's like a vegan booking an abattoir weekend.
I was strong-armed into a preview show under the notion that it was Cinderella on a Snowboard and to a certain extent this is correct, Kim (Felicity Jones) is a downtrodden burger-queen-teen with zero prospects trapped in a co-dependent rut with her culinary incompetent dad (Bill Bailey) and nursing grief for her mother - who died in a car crash.
In a series of unlikely twists Kim lands a job as a Chalet Girl with super-rich family in beautiful Austria, enter Prince Charming (lush Ed Westwick) who is – horror show – engaged to somebody he like – so completely – doesn't love.
While romance runs its roller-coaster course Kim learns to snowboard and finds she's gifted – well to a point – because the psychological scaring of her mum's death holds her back from winning the local boarding trophy – and a very useful cash prize.
While the set-up is pure Cinderella the execution is all Rocky.
As Kim was fighting the odds I found myself rooting for her: when she crashed in the snow I felt her pain and when she got up and faced her demons I felt her determination, god I even cried at one point – in a quiet manly way.
There are plenty of clichés: including a tart who – guess what – grows a heart, but despite all of that I just found myself going along with it. No, not just going along with it, but loving it.
The success is partly down to a script that punches well above its weight: the sharp banter runs like this:
Posh Richard (Bill Nighy): (pointing at a helicopter) You ever been in one of these things? Kim: (impressed but ultra-cool) Yeah, we have one at home. This one's pretty small actually. Posh Richard: Do we pay extra for irony? Kim: No, the irony's free, it's the sarcasm you're paying for. Ironically...
But the success is mostly down to Felicity Jones - she's hardly off screen and start-to-finish she oozes a hypnotic charm that wraps itself around you from go. Then there's the scenery too. The snow and chalet scenes are shot in Austria, in particular St Anton where 'The Museum' is used for exterior shots of the posh chalet – well, they are stunning.
Between the location, Felicity and even (strangely enough) Ed Westwick I left the cinema with my love for humanity and indeed the world in much better shape than when I went in.
I'm still being divorced of course, but after the film I feel slightly better about the process.