Haley Lu Richardson & Ben Hardy Lead Charming Rom-Com

Sep 19, 2023


Hadley and Oliver may seem like opposites, but their similarities and undeniable chemistry make us believe they are destined to be together. The film could have delved deeper into the story, but the charming directing and cinematography keep us engaged with its pleasant visual aesthetic. Love at First Sight may not be laugh-out-loud funny, but its intentions, sweetness, and tenderness make it a perfect choice for a light, heartfelt romantic comedy.

Netflix’s latest romantic comedy, Love at First Sight, is the film adaptation of Jennifer E. Smith’s The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. It follows Hadley Sullivan (Haley Lu Richardson), an American flying to London for her father’s second wedding, and Oliver (Ben Hardy), a mathematician returning home for familial obligation. Although the film’s narrator, Jameela Jamil, claims this story is not about love, it is about love and fate.

Hadley and Oliver could not be more different. Despite their quippy, easy-going banter being totally in sync, the film frames them as opposite sides of the same coin. Hadley is always late and hardly ever thinks about keeping her phone charged, while Oliver is always early and prepared. The differences are thinly crafted, but Richardson’s quirky yet charismatic portrayal of Hadley and Hardy’s endearing performance as hot nerd Oliver solidifies the underlying differences between these characters and the similarities that draw them together. The film rests entirely on the audience’s belief that these two are meant to be together. Little can shake that, and we don’t believe any other outcome is possible.

Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy in Love at First Sight

The writing is cute enough to keep the audience engaged. There is always the sense that story could dig deeper, especially knowing the novel exists. Love at First Sight feels a tad bit too long for its own good since the narrative is short and fluffy. However, our delightful leads and an endearing ensemble cast make up for the story being stretched too thinly. The third-person perspective pulls on the brakes for this one, as we are limited in how well we get to know these characters. But while Jameela Jamil as the narrator may be a win for some, the casting choice has some downsides. There are motivations and thoughts that are hinted at but are not examined enough for this relationship to feel as big and life-changing as it needs to be for these characters.

The film’s one saving grace is the charming, quaint directing from Vanessa Caswill and Luke Bryant’s complementary cinematography. The film is not a visual feast per se, but it is pleasant to look at, capturing the sweetness of the tale quite well. For a story that plays like a 91-minute song, but could have easily been trimmed down a bit, Caswill and Bryant work well together to keep the audience engaged with the visual aesthetic. Furthermore, this Netflix rom-com doesn’t have that same sheen and hollow appearance that so many of the streamer’s other rom-coms have, so that is a massive win for the film.

Jameela Jamil in Love at First Sight

Love at First Sight is a delectable treat. There could’ve been more of a substantive story, but what we get has the right amount of emotional heft and joy. It cannot be overlooked how vital it is to have Richardson and Hardy as the leads, as they complement each other very well, filling in the details the screenplay neglects to include. Additionally, Sally Philips, Dexter Fletcher and Rob Delaney do well to flesh out the story’s heart and its themes of first love, second chances, and acceptance of fate. Philips, in particular, does a ton of heavy lifting with an effective performance as Oliver’s mother, who succinctly expresses the importance of living life to the fullest and not being held back by fear or doubt. It’s a lesson that Hadley and Oliver rightfully need. It is through the cast that the most prescient story beats are heard and seen.

There will never be a time when a romantic comedy isn’t needed. While the film is light on laughs, it is overflowing with good intentions, sweetness, and tenderness, all of which are captured beautifully by the cast and production team. Love at First Sight has the potential to be a go-to choice whenever one is feeling in the mood for a light cry and swoon.

Love at First Sight is now streaming on Netflix. The film is 91 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for brief strong language and some suggestive references.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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