This is FRESH AIR. In the new romantic comedy "Rye Lane," a pair of young Londoners share a special day in South London. The film, which is airing on Hulu, marks the arrival of a new wave of Black British talent, both on camera and behind it. Our critic-at-large, John Powers, says he was carried along by "Rye Lane's" wonderful spirit.

JOHN POWERS, BYLINE: For much of the 20th century, romantic comedies were a movie-house staple, serving up such iconic pairings as Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, Rock Hudson and Doris Day, Diane Keaton and the now-disfavored Woody Allen. The genre began to lose steam in the '90s, around the time everyone began using the word rom-com, a decidedly unromantic term that only heightens the sense that we're being offered something formulaic. Of course, the best way to escape that perception is by doing something original - finding a fresh spin, retooling the format, or focusing on characters who normally don't get to star in romantic comedies.

That's what we get in "Rye Lane," a vivid new British film that marks the feature debut of director Raine Allen-Miller. Funny and high spirited, it centers on two young Black Londoners who spend a day together while recovering from terrible breakups. Although what happens is far from unpredictable, the film takes you on an enjoyable journey through a south-of-the-Thames London you seldom see on screen. In classic fashion, the movie begins with the collision between opposites, where Dom, played by David Jonsson, is sweet, courteous and buttoned up. Yas - that's Vivian Oparah - is a fast-talking young woman whose behavior borders on the kooky. They meet cutely, of course, when Yas overhears Dom sobbing over his lost love in an art gallery bathroom. Spotting him back inside the gallery, she chats him up to cheer him up. And soon, rather like Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy in the "Before Sunrise" trilogy, the two set forth onto the streets, talking.

Over the course of the next few hours, Yas and Dom wander through the vibrantly alive South London neighborhoods of Brixton and Peckham, shot in Jell-O colors, often with fisheye lenses. Along the way they laugh, argue, sing and in two key scenes - one funny, the other painful - encounter both of their exes. They also swap stories about their lives, with Dom confessing he used to work at KFC, and Yas saying she hopes to be a movie costume designer. Here, they walk through a Brixton mall. And when Yas asks Dom what he does now that he's grown up, he makes a voluminously unhip admission.