“Love at First Sight,” the latest addition to Netflix's romantic comedy lineup, directed by Vanessa Caswill and based on Jennifer E. Smith's book "The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight," brings together Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy in a meet-cute story that follows two strangers on an international flight.
The film is a classic example of what viewers have come to expect from a streaming rom-com – a predictable plot, a mix of cliches, and a runtime that caters to cosy home viewing.
View this post on Instagram
While it may not break new ground, it does offer a delightful, feel-good experience, perfect for a relaxed evening on the couch.
Haley Lu Richardson, known for her roles in "The White Lotus" and other projects, delivers a warm and disarming performance as Hadley Sullivan. Her character, a 20-year-old NYU student on her way to her father's Christmas wedding in London, is endearing despite her penchant for chaos and constant distractions, such as forgetting to charge her phone.
Ben Hardy, playing the 22-year-old college student Oliver, is equally captivating. He brings wit, vulnerability, and a touch of bruised charm to the role.
Oliver is on his way to London for his mother's memorial, accompanied by his Shakespeare-loving father, played by Dexter Fletcher, and quirky younger brother Luther, portrayed by Tom Taylor.
The story unfolds when Hadley and Oliver find themselves in adjacent seats on a flight from JFK to London due to a series of unfortunate events.
Their missed connections and near-misses create a series of bad luck and amusing mistakes, leading to the possibility of a budding romance. However, fate and impulsive decisions will determine if they can make a genuine connection.
The film occasionally incorporates Jameela Jamil as a whimsical narrator who embodies various roles throughout the journey, including a fellow JFK traveller, a flight attendant, a customs agent, and even a bus driver.
Jamil provides statistical insights into the characters' lives, highlighting the film's source material's fascination with statistics and fate. While these interventions can feel forced and occasionally grating, they are balanced by the natural chemistry between Richardson and Hardy.
Love at First Sight doesn't aim to be a tear-jerker, but rather a heartwarming and watchable romantic story. The film tugs at the heartstrings, making the whirlwind romance and emotional rollercoaster of the characters feel both reasonable and emotionally genuine.
While the film has its production flaws, including neon aesthetics and cliched setups, it ultimately strikes a chord with viewers who crave sweeping romance and a good meet-cute. In the end, “Love at First Sight” hits the mark with its likeable leads, charming banter, and a contained timeline that captures the essence of a classic rom-com.
“Love at First Sight” is available on Netflix starting September 15th.