Since its release on September 15, 2023, Netflix's romantic-comedy Love at First Sight has gone on to become a chart-topper, rising to the top of the streamer's trending list. The film is directed by Vanessa Caswill and is an adaptation of the 2011 novel by author Jennifer E. Smith, titled The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. In fact, Smith wrote the script for the film adaptation alongside Katie Lovejoy, so it's safe to say that Netflix's version of the novel has the author's approval.
Starring Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy in the lead roles as Hadley Sullivan and Oliver Jones, the film tells a story of love, fate, and overcoming challenges in life. The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil narrates the movie, giving viewers extra tidbits of information about the characters and events in the film. Although audiences have always gravitated towards the lighthearted genre of rom-coms, Love at First Sight was able to climb to the very top of the charts in a matter of days. What exactly brought the film its fame, and why have viewers been so obsessed with the film?
A Heartwarming Storyline
The plot of the film is one reason that viewers are hooked on Love at First Sight. Many films in the rom-com genre put their own spin on the base storyline of boy meets girl, and then the two are separated due to an old lover or miscommunication but find love again at the end.
Love at First Sight, although having the sweetest meet-cute, strays from the tried and tested rom-com plot. Instead, the storyline incorporates genuine, real-life issues that strike a chord of familiarity with viewers. Despite centering on Hadley and Oliver, the story also gives significant focus to the personal issues that the two are going through.
Hadley struggles to understand and reconcile with her father, who, having moved to London for a teaching job, separates from Hadley's mom. Her father is now getting married to a woman that Hadley has never met, and Hadley is the bridesmaid at the wedding.
Oliver, on the other hand, is trying to come to terms with the fact that his cancer-afflicted mom is refusing treatment and instead choosing to live her life in the limited time that she has left. She throws a Shakespeare-themed living memorial for herself, where all the attendees dress up and perform acts in tribute to her.
Love at First Sight narrates not only a story of young love. It also tells a story of the love and compassion between parents, children, and siblings. Hadley, with Oliver's help, comes to understand her father's decision to remarry. “Is it better to have had a good thing and lost it, or never to have had it?” says Hadley to her father, quoting a book he gave her to read in keeping with a father-daughter tradition between them.
Oliver learns that not everything in life is a statistic. Life is real and comes with its fair share of things that you don't like, including cancer and death. Despite struggling to handle his mother's sickness, Oliver learns to understand and accept her decision to live how she chooses to. All the while, Hadley and Oliver also work to understand each other, be there for each other when times are hard, and work at the love growing between them.
A Quirky Cast
The characters in the film are another reason that viewers have been so obsessed with Love at First Sight. Each character has their own endearingly quirky qualities, which keeps the audience hooked. The leading couple are so different from each other but fit perfectly together.
The always late Hadley, with her constantly dead phone, becomes the ideal match for the well-prepared Oliver, who lives his life by big data and statistics. The little inside jokes, sarcastic quips, and banter between the characters in the film also give Love at First Sight a certain charm. Tessa Jones, Oliver's mother, and her living memorial also become an unexpectedly unique feature of the film. After all, it's better to hear the good things that people have to say about you when you're still alive rather than when you're dead, is it not?
Adding a bit more charm to the film is the voice-over by Jameela Jamil. She appears at certain points in the movie, taking on various characters, from a flight attendant to a bus driver, and at times, speaks directly to the audience. Jamil offers quips of information and statistics, from how late Hadley was for her flight and how many times the word "love" was said at Hadley's father's wedding to how long Hadley and Oliver remained married. Thanks to Jamil, the audience is never left confused.
An Impressive Soundtrack
The film also has an impressive soundtrack. With both originals and covers, viewers are transported into the Love at First Sight world thanks to the perfect pairings of songs with moments in the film. The soundtrack ensures that the audience feels the emotions and feelings of a scene and empathizes with the characters on screen. The film includes covers of popular songs such as I Wanna Dance With Somebody by Whitney Houston and Honey Honey by ABBA.
A few of the songs which work to enhance the effect that the film has on its audience include Above the Clouds of Pompeii by Bear's Den, Lonely by Morgan Harper-Jones, Strange Game by Jess Ribeiro, and Time by Angelo De Augustine. A film is usually nothing without its music, and the soundtrack of Love at First Sight establishes that the film's creative team has understood the importance of a good soundtrack in a rom-com.
A Feel-Good Must-Watch
All in all, viewers are mostly obsessed with Love at First Sight because it provides a wholesome, feel-good, light watch. Despite grappling with real and serious issues, including divorce and cancer, the film never strays too far in seriousness or grief. Instead, it strikes the perfect balance between stressing the gravity of personal issues and the importance of love and understanding in overcoming life's obstacles. Conveying almost nothing is impossible if everyone comes together in a love message. The film leaves one feeling happy at the conclusion of the film.
Jamil's voice assuring viewers that the film has a happy ending, that Hadley was by Oliver's side when his mother passed, and Hadley and Oliver were married for 58 years with one daughter before Oliver held Hadley's hand when she passed, also adds to why viewers gravitate towards Love at First Sight. Especially for fans of the original novel, which didn't offer a perfectly wrapped-up conclusion, the ending of the film probably comes as a reassuring relief.
Love at First Sight is now available for streaming on Netflix.