The late director George Roy Hill always had a good touch with actors and very straightforward entertaining stories. Such is the case with A Little Romance.
The film, which was made in 1979 stars a very young Diane Lane who plays Lauren a thirteen-year-old American student living in Paris who falls in love with a French boy named Daniel (Thelonius Bernard) who has a cool boy swagger and a thick accent.
They begin this very innocent romance and are helped along by an older gentleman named Julius (played by the inimitable Lawrence Olivier). He holds on to this romantic belief and imparts his thoughts to the young couple. He convinces them to run away for a night to Venice where they can 'consummate' (sort of) their relationship by kissing at the right place at the right time. Of course, this leads to nothing but trouble because the adults – who always misunderstand the old and the young – believe Julius has kidnapped the kids.
The film is nothing if not romantic and charming but it also reflects the era in which it was made. This is definitely a film that today would upset some of the more Conservative crowd – especially when the kids go and see a 'blue movie' and of course when they kiss. But you'd really have to be a prude to not get the overall story about innocence and true love.
The film was shot in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (widescreen) and it looks good. The colors are a bit muted and the print has that 70's grainy look (which I happen to like) and there are a few scratches in the print. Overall it looks better than the video and as good as any print currently available. Many of the scenes are shot outdoors with a lot of depth focus so we can see some of the best spots of Paris and Venice.
The audio is in standard Dolby Digital mono. The film has an Oscar winning score by Georges Delerue, which certainly doesn't get center stage in mono but that's okay because the film's strong suit is the dialogue, which in this case sounds very good.
There is an interview with Diane Lane titled Remembering Romance with Diane Lane that lasts for about ten minutes. It's not long enough to learn much but it does provide a bittersweet memory for Lane as she fondly remembers working with Lawrence Olivier (Lord Larry). There are some text-based Production Notes, Cast and Crew bios and a poor looking and long theatrical trailer. The extras are rounded out with a gallery of old posters.
A Little Romance fits into that category we might call the children's film for adults. It's smart, well written, acted and directed. If anything it will be remembered as Diane Lane's first movie and one of Laurence Olivier's last. The DVD is above average in all categories except audio but it is worth a look.