Because my feelings for Joan Armatrading's work are deeply woven into my personal history, I know the difference between a good and a great Armatrading album. I know that her ballads are best when they retain a sense of the power and intensity that she unleashes on her uptempo songs, which in turn are strengthened by her impeccable sense of delicacy and grace. That's a pretty good description of Armatrading's approach on her latest album, 'This Charming Life.'
All of the trailers and promotional packages try to warn audiences that this movie isn't a love story, although it plainly has the boy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) meets girl (Zooey Deschanel), boy loses girl set-up. This is in fact a love story, one where the boy gets the blues and learns to do more than what he's always been told in the standard romantic comedy formula. It has a ring of truth, and it's far from ugly. Grade: B.