Critics slammed this film, so we skipped it the weekend it opened, even though the trailers looked amazing because we read all the bad reviews. Now that I've seen it, I'm not sure why all the hate. It's super cute!
Please read this and go see this film if you love rom-coms because it's a feel-good movie that has a happily ever after--the secret to all great rom-coms, or at least the idea that it's going that way, like in Sleepless in Seattle.
That film ended with Sam and Annie leaving with his son from the top of the Empire State Building, and it's assumed they will get together, but they could get mugged and shot, they could get hit by a cab like in An Affair To Remember, a film referenced over and over throughout the story. They could go on one date and realize that they aren't compatible, but it leads us to believe they will be together, just like many of the best rom-coms.
LOVE AGAIN has a happy ending that we go with because we want these two characters to be happy again.
Critics panned this film. I think it has a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes--and so I was like, "ugh, another bad rom-com". My hubby and I wanted to go to the movies and see something light so we went and I was so happy.
We BOTH really liked it.
Oddly enough, we attempted to watch another rom-com on Netflix that got higher reviews, but it was beyond HORRIBLE; I mean, so cliche and just witty banter the entire first act that it was impossible to watch. I am the queen of cheesy romances; hence my love for all things Hallmark but this one, and I won't review it and slam it out of respect for the writer, but wow, it was so bad.
I admit that I was skeptical of LOVE AGAIN..but I loved it.
This film has the cheese, it has the unrealistic man who loves the idea of falling in love (but I mean, that does happen in TV and movies, more so in TV like Ross, and also Leonard in the Big Bang Theory-but he was portrayed as a nerd. Sam in Love Again isn't a nerd, but just a British man working in New York who was hurt by a woman and avoiding getting back out there, so it works.
Critics complained about the super long cameo by Celine Dion, but it worked for the story. In fact, every single thing that happens in Love Again was there for a reason, even all the scenes with Celine Dion.
Let's break down the film and why it checks all the boxes of a great rom-com.
PREMISE~ A young woman tries to ease the pain of her fiancé's death by sending romantic texts to his old cell phone number and forms a connection with the man the number has been reassigned to.
Is this something that could happen? Probably not, but it works for the film. Steve Kaplan always talks about comedy and protagonists having stories that are either impossible (Groundhog Day or Big, or improbable stories like Bridesmaids and The Holiday. Love Again fills the improbable.
So, the premise works.
Let's break down the main beats.
INTRODUCTION we meet Mira in a cafe, she is drawing, so we get a sense of who she is and what she does; she is texting, so we know texting is going to be in the story (hell, it's in the premise), and her fiance meets her in a cafe, and we see their connection immediately. The two actors have chemistry, and then, it happens, he gets killed right in front of her---which explains and SHOWS us why she is so completely withdrawn from dating.
INCITING INCIDENT happens immediately in this film, it's the unexpected death of her fiance.
NEW REALITY is when she starts texting her ex's phone, not realizing that it is going to a real person. Sam, the new guy, is getting the texts, and he is our love interest who also has suffered a love loss; while it's not the same as a death, he is still grieving. Mira and Sam also walk past each other as they work in the same neighborhood.
A great comedy has everyone connected in the story; this one works well with that, as it's all connected in a way that is logical and believable.
MIRROR MOMENT/RECOMMITMENT in the middle of the film is for both Mira and Sam; once they meet and start dating, both of them have to make a choice to continue or go back to pushing others away. Mira loves how she is feeling even though she still loves John, but she reflects and chooses to continue with Sam. Now Sam makes a bad decision by not being honest with Mira--leading to the CRISIS
CRISIS happens when right after they finally make love, and are in love; when Mira sees that Sam has been getting all her intimate texts to her ex, so she feels played and betrayed.
ALL IS LOST they break up
CLIMAX & RESOLUTION they get back together after Sam writes and publishes a love letter to her.
It works; all the elements are there.
It's not filled with wouldn't it be funny if moments or witty banter. Everything in this story comes from character brought on by theme--just like Steve Kaplan talks about in his books and workshops on comedy.
See my earlier blog on how rom-coms are a subgenre of comedy not romance HERE
One of the things that critics hated was Celine Dion, but here is why it works. Sam is a music critic assigned to write about Celine's coming back into popularity. He interviews her, and all her songs are about love. Another thing the critics missed, and it makes me wonder if they all even watched it is that Celine herself suffered a major loss five years ago when her husband passed away. The theme of LOSS and LOVE is there within Celine. This film wouldn't have been the same if it was any other major singer, even Kelly Clarkson who has some great break-up and loss songs. Celine's place in the story helps the theme, and it works.
Now it may be a stretch to have Celine Dion be that open, but it's not like Sam meets her in a cafe, and they become besties; he is interviewing her.
There is only one bit that bothered me a little, and that's when Celine hires Mira to do her new artwork, not because of the type of art Mira does because as an artist myself, I know that you can do children's books and art for album covers, and everything in between, but it was a second lie that Sam did to Mira, and it wasn't addressed fully but the reason it was there was so Celine could share her loss with Mira. Mira's sister hadn't experienced what Mira did, so Mira was coping by herself and drowning in grief. I loved that Celine and her connected, and it helped change Mira's perspective on loving again. It worked. They didn't become best friends, but it works.
So... my review? Two thumbs UP!!! Or 5 stars, etc.
Is it a bit cheesy? SURE
But it's fun.
The characters are super likable.
The music is good--you have to like Celine's music as a lot of her old ballads are played but well throughout and placed properly.
We cheer for the two main characters.
Mira has a bestie in her sister.
Sam has two work colleagues as his friends.
The tropes work.
Ignore the reviews and go see this fun film.
It's the best rom-com that I have seen since the pandemic in the theatres.
For more on Steve Kaplan and his comedy courses, books, and workshops click HERE
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