Film review: ‘Love Again’ should restore your faith in the rom-com even with its cheesier bits
Rom-coms are such a 90s phenomenon that today they seem rather twee. In the aftermath of TimesUp and MeToo hashtags, it’s been difficult for directors to deliver romantic stories without stepping on someone’s toes. Once upon a time, an innocent lead male (who used to be called the ‘hero’ in film study talk) could stand outside his beloved’s bedroom window with a boombox over his head shouting the lyrics to a grunge ballad. Today he’d be branded a stalker and the exercise itself considered a certain kind of abuse.
Over the past few years, many films have tried to revive the mushy rom-com formula but failed dismally, cases in point: Good On Paper and the god-awful Last Christmas. Even recent release Ticket To Paradise couldn’t be saved by two of Hollywood’s biggest stars in Julia Roberts and George Clooney; in short it was kinda naff.
New movie ‘Love Again’ tries to inject brand newness into the rom-com genre – and not only in title and mind you, it does a pretty good job of it.
The film is an adaptation of a well-selling German novel Text For You by Sofie Cramer (not very ironic with their titles, those Germans) and sees the coming together of Indian star Priyanka Chopra Jonas as Mira, and Outlander star Sam Heughan as Rob.
Rob ends up with a mobile phone number that once belonged to Mira’s previous boyfriend who is now deceased (cheeky telcos) and she keeps sending texts to said number as if to communicate with her previous partner while assuming nobody else would be reading them. Alas, the plot does veer into stalker territory, after all, as Rob collects Mira’s thoughts in a plan to ‘bump’ into her at the opera one night where her favourite production is playing.
While the premise of the film is a fairly sad one, it pretty much remains upbeat for the most part. But aside from palatable performances from Chopra Jonas and Heughan, the main difference between this rom-com and those that came before it is the real star of the show, Celine Dion. In fact, Dion is so likeable in this film – even to a non-fan such as myself – that she becomes the star of the show.
Playing herself, Dion becomes a kind of guide and guru to Rob, who as a music critic has been set up to interview the famous diva.
Surprisingly, this is Dion’s first major film role and she does a great job in it, keeping the dialogue punchy and coming across as way more ironic and witty than I thought she could ever be, providing the biggest chunk of charm in the film.
There are also some cheesy moments – after all this is new love we’re talking about… But in all, Love Again restores our faith in the once-was-twee rom-com. And, sure, there are a couple of scenes where it feels like you’re watching paint dry – albeit a beige hue – but for the most part this is a fun, feelgood film. And that’s despite it being sandwiched between a shock opening and the worst closing credits you’ve seen following a love story.
‘Love Again’ is in cinemas now.
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