[A Little Romance] is a downright simple-minded adult's fantasy of young love….
Three things redeem [its] foolishness. The first, surprisingly, is Hill's direction, which never condescends to the material. Somehow, he manages to maintain just the right note of romantic humor that had virtually disappeared with the musical comedies (like [Vincente Minnelli's] Gigi) of the '50s. Hill's single lapse is his fondness for showing clips from his previous works.
The second is the acting of [Thelonious] Bernard and [Laurence] Olivier. Both have difficult roles; perhaps only a loveable old curmudgeon is harder to portray than a loveably obnoxious kid. Since the script is so silly and the director is better known for his engineering of pleasant entertainments than his talented handling of performers, I'm inclined to believe that Bernard could have a future in this business. Olivier, of course, could have played the part in his sleep.
Finally, [Diane] Lane is simply the most charming young actress to appear in a generation…. To watch her in A Little Romance is to witness the birth of a star. (p. 22)
Robert Asahina, "Young Love," in The New Leader (© 1979 by the American Labor Conference on International Affairs, Inc.), Vol. 63, No. 10, May 7, 1979, pp. 21-2.∗