Let’s just say it, Netflix’s previous forays into original cinema have been… a little on the patchy side.
Yes, past offerings like Roma, The Irishman, All Quiet On The Western Front and Glass Onion have been met with critical acclaim and even Academy Award nominations, but when it comes to some of their other original movies, in particular within the romantic comedy genre, they haven’t always quite hit the mark.
Of course, when we’re settling in for a cosy rom-com night with a bag of popcorn and a glass or two of Kylie rosé, we’re not always after high-brow entertainment with awards buzz and triple-figure Rotten Tomatoes scores, are we? Which brings us to Love At First Sight.
The story centres around Oliver and Hadley, two strangers who meet at an airport, and are left pondering whether their chance encounter could be the stuff of true love.
Love At First Sight boasts a seriously impressive cast, led by Haley Lu Richardson of The White Lotus and Ben Hardy, whose credits include Bohemian Rhapsody, X-Men: Apocalypse and the TV drama The Girl Before (although let’s be real, he’ll always be EastEnders’ Peter Beale to us), with Rob Delaney, Dexter Fletcher and Sally Phillips also putting in appearances, and Jameela Jamil serving as its narrator.
The question is… is it actually any good?
Well, critics have had their say, and the consensus seems to be that it won’t be troubling the Oscars next year, but fans of low-stakes rom-coms will be entertained well enough. Here’s a selection of what the reviews are saying...
“The dialogue is hardly Nora Ephron-worthy, so it’s up to Richardson and Hardy to sell their attraction to one other. And boy, do they ever.
“It’s been a minute since a Netflix original romance tugged on my heartstrings, despite the streamer’s reputation for ‘saving the rom-com’ [...] Love at First Sight feels like Netflix finally living up to its rep as a streamer that makes solid, fun, easy-to-watch romances. Hadley and Oliver may not be quite as iconic as Lara and Peter [the lead characters in To All The Boys I Loved Before], but they sure are cute.”
“Due to my inexperience with the slate of romantic comedies that Netflix peddles in, perhaps Love at First Sight really is just more of the same—but I found myself shockingly taken under its corny, sentimental spell.
“At the very least, it is exceptional in being bestowed with the captivating charm of Haley Lu Richardson, whose chemistry with co-lead Ben Hardy (Bohemian Rhapsody, The Voyeurs) enthrals even as the dialogue they’re reciting is worthy of cringe.”
“Love At First Sight is billed as a romantic comedy. It’s rarely funny. Plus, the [film] comes with a bit of window dressing that ranges from useless but harmless to vaguely annoying.
“Know what? None of that really matters. Love at First Sight accomplishes its most important job: Presenting us with two likeable lead characters and making us care about them ultimately ending up together — even if we know there’s, like, a 99.9 percent probability that they will.”
“The whole Brit falls for an American trope has been done to death, and “Love at First Sight” doesn’t bring anything new to the genre. While Richardson turns in the best performance of the film, even that’s not enough to push Love at First Sight to higher rom-com heights.
“The film, directed by Vanessa Caswill, is a well-designed [..] distraction from the fact that Hardy and Richardson don’t have chemistry.”
Love At First Sight will be available to stream on Netflix from Friday 15 September.