Love at First Sight (2023) Movie Review: Not Much Trouble For This Couple

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Love at First Sight (2023) Movie Review: Not Much Trouble For This Couple - The Movie Culture

Love at First Sight is the latest film that got added to the long list of rom-coms on Netflix. Adapted from the 2011 novel by Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight, the story is about a British man named Oliver Jones and an American woman named Hadley Sullivan who board a plane to the transatlantic and their lives are changed forever.

Director Vanessa Caswill’s first feature film has gotten good reviews from viewers thus far. Writer Jennifer E. Smith says, “it’s about two people finding each other and meeting each other at the exact right moment.” The film was mostly shot during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020-21 and “is less intense because it took less time to film it”, according to Caswill.

Smith was joined by Katie Lovejoy, formerly the writer of To All The Boys: Always and Forever. 

Love at First Sight (2023) Movie Cast

  • Ben Hardy as Oliver Jones
  • Haley lu Richardson as Hadley Sullivan
  • Jameela Jamil as the narrator
  • Rob Delaney as Andrew Sullivan
  • Katrina Nare as Charlotte
  • Tom Taylor as Luther Jones
  • Dexter Fletcher as Val Jones
  • Sally Philips as Tessa Jones
  • Philip Bird as Mr. O’ Callaghan
  • Tracy Wiles as Mrs O’ Callaghan

Love at First Sight (2023) Plot & Summary

The plot of Love at First Sight is simple. Hadley meets Oliver while trying to board a flight in New York to catch a plane to London. Coincidences, or rather, Fate keeps them from being separated and they fall in love. The film is about how two lovers make their own destinies despite their worries.

Hadley’s dead cell phone battery in the airport leads to her first encounter with Oliver, who gallantly offers her his charger. Hadley responds wryly, “I don’t share electronics until the third date.” While in the plane, Oliver gets bumped to business class, the next seat to Hadley, due to a seatbealt issue. They talk about their families and the reason for their travel: Hadley is attending her father’s second marriage while Oliver phrases his words in such a way that makes it seem like his mother passed away due to cancer.

Both share the same airport meal and are perceived as a couple by other before they watch a cheesy rom-com that draws them closer. At the end of the six-hour flight, Hadley and Oliver have a moment where they are about to kiss but are interrupted. The two go their separate ways after deboarding.

Even though the two shared many personal details, they forget to get each other’s contact information. Hadley meets her father, Andrew, and her new bride, Charlotte, whom she finds adorable. During the ceremony, she eavesdrop on a conversation about a man who returned to London for a memorial service for his mother.

Despite of “a 0.2% chance” of the man being Oliver Jones, Hadley travels on a bus to Peckham. She finds out that the “Twist” in Oliver’s tale was that his mother was alive and refused chemotherapy in order to not prolong her suffering. The two have a falling out but thanks to a little advice from Val, Oliver decides to go to Greenwich, “crashing a wedding”,  on the pretext of returning Hadley’s backpack and ends up reconciling with her.

Love at First Sight (2023) Review

Numbers and statistics are thrown at the audience to show how, despite all odds, Oliver and Hadley find true love. They find it in an airport of all places. Unlike her phone, the heroine’s life is charged by the entry of Oliver, and her meaningless journey to meet the ‘stranger’ bride of Andrew Sullivan, her father, becomes important as the story progresses.

Haley Richardson’s ‘Hadley’ has a self-deprecating humor with naughty, flirtatious, gazes at Oliver provides for a cheeky romance. Meanwhile, Ben Hadley’s British accent and gallantry makes him a charmer. The math nerd’s humor is mostly associated with statistical approach to life solutions, making both protagonists unique.

Midway during the film, a flashback shows the life of Oliver Jones after he deboards the plane. This way, viewers get to know about each main character in detail and how they eventually end up together. The plot doesn’t become too complicated – it is only shown that Hadley got Oliver’s number but her battery died once again on her way to Peckham.

Oliver’s fear of surprises is due to his mother’s condition and keeps this lifelong fear until Hadley travels miles to meet him in Peckham. On the other hand, Oliver brought a change in Hadley’s thoughts about Andrew Sullivan’s second marriage and thereby, her relationship with her father. Both seemed good for each other but the movie doesn’t build on that aspect.

No strong challenges in this Love At First Sight

Executing a romance is difficult on-screen, especially those that are based on love at first sight. Viewers may find it hard to believe that an unreliable cell phone battery led to a full-fledged romance. There is also no concrete evidence that Hadley and Oliver are right for each other: a few conversations and shared interests guarantee nothing since the two never really faced societal or emotional obstacles that challenged their love.

Love at First Sight has a lot of flaws even though there were two exceptionally talented workers portraying the main roles. Its lackluster script may find viewers struggling to emphathize with Hadley and Oliver as two people with different goals but on the same route. There is also an obvious lack of tension – the two lovers separate after 60 minutes into the film but are back together because Hadley forgot her backpack, which was taken by the narrator, and given to Oliver Jones by hand.

Then there’s the omnipresent narrator, who adds a nice touch in bringing together the lovebirds by magically turning up as an air hostess, bar woman, and even a bus driver. It seems like Jameela Jamil is Fate incarnate. However, her bold claims become highly debatable like the “Fate can only be fate if we decide that we want it to be” quote, throwing the whole literary and mythical idea of fate and freewill out of balance.