Cute, cheesy, conveniently smooth, surprisingly sentimental and packed with unlikely (or even unrealistic) co-incidences, the 2023 Netflix movie “Love at First” sight is a good old romantic flick set in the modern world. A lot of Hollywood romances end with an airport scene, so it was nice to see this one subvert the trope and begin its love story with the lead couple meeting at the airport.
Based on a novel called “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight” by Jennifer E. Smith, the live-action adaptation has been directed by Vanessa Caswill. Haley Lu Richardson plays 20-year-old Hadley Sullivan, who misses her flight to London to attend her father’s wedding and ends up meeting 22-year-old Oliver Jones (Ben Hardy), a math geek, while waiting for her next flight. The two instantly connect and as fate would have it, they also end up being seated next to each other on their very long journey from New York to London. But will they keep in touch after? Or will it be a one flight stand? Jameela Jamil plays the narrator throughout the runtime, appearing as different background characters while she guides viewers through this love story.
Despite a wedding thrown in the tale, “Love at First Sight” has the kind of cinematography that feels cozy, largely due to the closed space in which the most crucial interaction takes place – Hadley and Oliver bond the most when they are seated next to each other on a flight, chatting away and watching a romantic movie together. Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy are awkward and sweet together, as they should be, since their characters are two young strangers who are just getting to know each other. The background music was upbeat, fun, and didn’t feature the usual “viral” songs that are popular on social media. For example, at Hadley’s father’s wedding party, they danced to a synth-pop hit from the late 1970s.
The story doesn’t rely on the usual “opposites attract” trope. Hadley and Oliver might have their distinct quirks and fears, but they aren’t too different from each other. Both of them hate mayonnaise. Hadley is a literary enthusiast who doesn’t believe in marriages due to her parents’ divorce, while Oliver is a science guy who likes to break down everything into statistical numbers in his conversations but also has faith in the human heart. The entire story unfolds in 24 hours, which is a nod to the classical “unity of time,” and within that span, the plot seamlessly interweaves the complex relationships both protagonists have with their parents.
Okay, look, I really enjoyed watching this film. It was a refreshing departure from many recent Hollywood romances, where the leads are either exceedingly fickle, as in “Choose Love,” or commitment-phobic, as seen in the 2023 film “Ghosted”. So it was fun to watch two young people open up to each other and giving love a chance. If you have a soft spot for the romance genre, give this film a shot.
Rating: 8 on 10. You can stream “Love at First Sight” on Netflix.
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