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Love Again / Review : A Film for the Hallmark Channel at Best

When a loved one passes away, friends and relatives offer condolences and comfort with their tears, hugs, and the sharing of memories. But once the funeral is over — and the friends and relatives have left — the grieved person is left to enter a deep, dark and strange world where the loss of an irreplaceable person creates a gaping hole in the heart. 

As the film opens, Mira (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) is at the bottom of the ocean, still struggling to adjust to the death of her boyfriend, John (Arinze Kene) even after two years of grieving. She lives with her sister, Suzy (Sofia Barclay), and is still clinging to John’s belongings as a way to stay in contact with him and his smell. She expresses her pain by texting her late boyfriend’s number, then sharing her feelings that will never be answered. 

One day, Rob (Sam Heughan) appears, a 35-year-old music critic who struggles to find angles for an interview with a star singer Céline Dion.  But he was also struggling to get over being dumped by his longtime girlfriend a week before he was to tie the knot. Somehow, Mira’s old boyfriend’s phone ends up in Rob’s possession and he ends up reading all the texts from Mira, not knowing who she is. 

Rob eventually meets her at the opera, which sparks an immediate attraction to her, and their dates turn into a relationship, although the writer can’t bear to tell her of the messages he’s been seeing, which might complicate their union. The audience knows where this deception is going and the film veers into following the stereotype of the rom-com. It uses the longstanding formula of “Boy meets girl. Boy gets girl. Boy loses girl. Boy finds a way to get her back.” 

Rob doesn’t do what anyone in their right mind would do — tell this stranger that you might be texting the wrong person — or even block her number. What’s even more surprising is that Mira sends a barrage of texts to her old boyfriend — even after two years of mourning. It really makes her seem unhinged, and her questions to Rob are even weirder. One question she asks is: “Would you rather have 10 cats or would you rather have one parrot on your shoulder for 22 hours a day?” (Mira thinks the only “correct” answer is to choose the parrot.) Who would find this annoying trait of Mira’s endearing? 

Even Rob’s gossipy coworker Billy Brooks (Russell Tovey) warns Rob that this cell phone is probably just a way for their boss to spy on Rob — a conspiracy theory almost as dumb as Trump’s. Rob has another co-worker, Lisa Scott (Lydia West), who he’s somewhat attracted to, but she sees him more like an older brother. It makes one wonder why Mira finds anything attractive about Rob to begin with. He’s a dismissive, arrogant prick at the press conference, and gets called out as being a child by Celine Dion herself.

There are other “red flags” about Rob which would be noticeable to anyone who tries to “falls in love” with him. After two years of mourning her boyfriend, Mira, who’s getting realistic about having a new relationship, might find him a bigger problem given how he tries to court a love interest. The film doesn’t offer any sense of reality and is so excruciating to watch, particularly with so many of Céline Dion’s songs suddenly being played, cued up to be heard at various emotional moments. Incidentally, Dion also produced this film.

Worst of all, the film has some surprising cast moments. For example, Nick Jonas (who married Chopra Jonas in 2018) appears at a very contrived cameo moment. The film premise is based on a novel by Sofie Cramer who previously adapted it for a German film, “SMS für Dich” /“SMS for You” tried to show that a real conversation of love isn’t found in the number of likes you get. The English language film, “Love Again” initially demonstrates an understanding for the profound situation of loss and pain, and tries to show ways to address the reality of the mourning process. The film should have focused on that, but it ended up being used as an excuse for product replacement of Celine Dion’s music. The entire story completely loses itself to cliché making it more of a film for the Hallmark Channel at best. 

Grade : D+

Check out more of Nobuhiro’s articles.

Here’s the trailer of the film.

Nobuhiro Hosoki
Nobuhiro Hosokihttps://www.cinemadailyus.com
Nobuhiro Hosoki grew up watching American films since he was a kid; he decided to go to the United States thanks to seeing the artistry of Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange.” After graduating from film school, he worked as an assistant director on TV Tokyo’s program called "Morning Satellite" at the New York branch office but he didn’t give up on his interest in cinema. He became a film reporter for via Yahoo Japan News. In that role, he writes news articles, picks out headliners for Yahoo News, as well as interviewing Hollywood film directors, actors, and producers working in the domestic circuit in the USA. He also does production interviews for Japanese distributors of American films and for in-theater on-sale programs. He is now the editor-in-chief of Cinemadailyus.com while continuing his work for Japan.


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