Love Again (2023) Review
LOVE is a tough thing to explain if Celine Dion's Power of Love is anything to go on. It is an emotion that brings people together just as often as it tears them apart. Love Again demonstrates both sides of the affectionate coin in a predictable manner -- but predictability isn't always a bad thing if the journey is worth the reward.
The death of her long-term boyfriend has left Mira (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) isolated and emotionally drained despite her sister Suzy's (Sofia Barclay) best attempts at getting her back into the dating scene. She manages to cope with the loss by regularly texting her ex's number to express her feelings; a number which has found itself in the hands of music journalist Rob (Sam Heughan) who was left heartbroken mere days before his wedding. Now on the receiving end of these anonymous texts, Rob seeks to find the person responsible for these heartfelt messages after receiving love advice from recent client Celine Dion (Celine Dion).
Full credit to writer and director Jim Strouse for coming up with a semi-original concept in 2023, but that doesn't help Love Again escape the stigma of feeling like a cheesy rom-com ripped right out of the early 2000's. The plot does feature some ludicrous scenarios involving freak weather occurrences and lucky timings, but the characters themselves do a decent job at explaining their point in every scene, with Celine Dion in particular coming across naturally as appose to feeling like a corporately-created fabrication. Her involvement is explained through Rob's music critic profession as he's doing a piece on the Canadian megastar which allows him to interact on a more emotional level with Dion, giving her a reason to serve as an angel on his love-stricken shoulder.
At the end of the day though, romantic comedies only work if the couple does -- and does our mismatched duo work well? Short answer, yes. Jonas and Heughan work extremely well off each other, playing off their similarities in a very dissimilar manner. Jonas' Mira comes off as quirky for much of the film, a trait which was foreshadowed during her date with a cartoonish depiction of your typical movie jerk as she likes to ask rhetorical questions, and as luck would have it, Heughan's Rob immediately bites and becomes entranced with her abnormal personality. The reason is all sounds corny and cliché is because it is -- and Love Again plays into its stale formula by hamming up these scenes in a surprisingly charming way, much of which comes down to the performances given by Jonas, Heughan, Ray and Dion.
Love Again has been one of the hardest movies for me to review in recent memory. The film critic side of me sneered at even the thought of this predictable, tiresome concept, but the casual movie-goer side of me cheered at the couple inevitably coming together. There are definitely faults with Love Again that can't be ignored such as the awkward cuts and eye-rolling comedy, yet I also recognise its ability to make audiences care every relationship and what happens to its characters. And in my eyes, that's what movies should always aim to achieve -- sincere, earnest engagement.