“Love at First Sight” is a Netflix original romantic film that was released Sept. 15. The film stars Haley Lu Richardson as Hadley Sullivan, Ben Hardy as Oliver Jones, and Jameela Jamil as the narrator. Vanessa Caswill directed the film, which is an adaptation of the novel “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,” by Jennifer E. Smith.
The film follows Hadley and Oliver’s love story. Hadley misses her flight to London by four minutes and ends up running into Oliver. The two instantly fall in love with each other and encounter more improbable instances that push them together. The narration arrives randomly, with the narrator appearing as a background character who sometimes interacts with the main cast.
The title and premise of the film is a cliche, but one portrayed sincerely, without cynicism or overt seriousness. This film knows exactly what it is and presents the story in a heartfelt, genuine way.
Because the story is lighthearted and heartwarming, the film offers a little escapism. It's an easy watch. The film reveals its self-awareness early, when Hadley and Oliver decide to watch a cheesy romcom with a happy ending.
Throughout the story, the narrator is a mix of a near-mystical being who seems omnipotent and a fan of the couple. She roots for them along with the audience. Jamil, who previously acted in the absurdist comedy series “The Good Place” and in “She-Hulk: Attorney At Law,” brings her comedy background into portraying the narrator. She is playful and humorous; and her role is absurd.
Despite the narrator adding a fantasy element, Hadley and Oliver are not soulmates. The film portrays their meetings as merely chance. As the narrator says, “fate can only be fate if we decide that we want it to be.”
The films cliche nature comes back to bite in the third act when a contrived conflict keeps Oliver and Hadley from getting together. This conflict brings Hadley and Oliver to their low points, so they can bond with their families and fight for their happy ending, which does make them more rounded-out characters. Common in romance movies, this type of conflict comes at the expense of Hadley and Oliver’s natural relationship development.
The film’s soundtrack is a mix of catchy and emotional, including an acoustic cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me).” The scenes take advantage of bright, colorful lighting in dark settings. These together create a comforting atmosphere.
Although the film is not particularly unique, it offers an enjoyable time that made me briefly question how improbable love at first sight really is.
Rating: 7 out of 10 stars.
Frank Remski is a film and theater reviewer for the Eastern Echo. He is majoring in media studies and journalism and minoring in public relations. He has worked for The Echo since the summer of 2023 and has written both news stories and opinion pieces.