Love at First Sight Review: A Heartwarming Tale of Serendipity

Love at First Sight, starring Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy, is a breezy, comfort-food film effortlessly fits into Netflix’s catalogue of romantic comedies. Directed by Vanessa Caswill and adapted from Jennifer E. Smith’s novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Katie Lovejoy, the film spins a familiar yet charming yarn about two strangers whose paths cross on an international flight, leading to an unexpected but beautiful love story.

The film opens with a quintessential meet-cute scenario at JFK airport, where mishaps like missing flights, dead phones, and broken seatbelts bring Hadley Sullivan (Richardson) and Oliver (Hardy) together. Richardson, known for her disarming and warm-blooded characters, delivers a captivating performance as Hadley, a 20-year-old NYU student en route to her father’s wedding in London. Her naturalistic portrayal captures the anxieties and distractions of a young woman reluctantly heading towards an important family event.

On the other hand, Oliver’s quick wit and vulnerability are highlighted as he faces his own emotional turmoil as his mother’s lung cancer has returned after over a decade of remission, adding a poignant layer to his character.

The film’s narrative is interwoven with playful yet sometimes grating narration by Jameela Jamil, who appears in various guises – traveller, flight attendant, customs agent, and bus driver, essentially playing the role of fate. Her commentary, filled with statistics and musings on love and destiny, attempts to add a whimsical touch but occasionally detracts from the organic connection between the leads.

One of the film’s standout features is its vibrant aesthetic, though it sometimes errs on the side of being overly twee. Scenes are bathed in neon pink light, lending a dreamy, almost fantastical quality to both the interiors of the plane and the streets of London. Despite this, the authentic chemistry between Richardson and Hardy anchors the film, making their whirlwind romance believable and engaging.

Supporting performances by Rob Delaney as Hadley’s father and Sally Phillips as Oliver’s mother add depth and warmth to the story. Delaney, in particular, brings a blend of prickly humor and sweetness to his role as a father trying to reconnect with his daughter. Phillips delivers a cheeky yet poignant portrayal of a woman bravely facing her mortality.

Love at First Sight may not be a groundbreaking addition to the romantic comedy genre, but it understands its audience and delivers exactly what it promises: a heartwarming, feel-good love story. The film acknowledges its clichés and embraces, making for an enjoyable watch that caters to the part that yearns for serendipitous romance and charmingly improbable meet-cutes.

While the film may follow a predictable plot and occasionally rely on aesthetic gimmicks, its true strengths lie in the lead performances and the genuine connection they portray. Richardson and Hardy’s ability to convey the rush of falling in love and the pain of separation within a condensed timeline makes Love at First Sight a delightful escape into a world where love defies the odds.