‘Love at First Sight’ Review: Sense, Sensibility and Statistics

by The Technical Blogs


It may be a cliché to suggest that a streaming original feels as if it were created to serve an algorithm, but rarely is a movie as openly besotted with patterns of data as “Love at First Sight,” on Netflix. Not only is the movie derivative, but its story actually pivots on the statistics of romance, and by extension the supposed romance of statistics.

As in “500 Days of Summer,” the romance story whose fabric was recycled for this fleece pullover of a film, “Love at First Sight” features a narrator hyper-fixated on numerical values. Case in point: when we meet our two protagonists, Hadley (Haley Lu Richardson) and Oliver (Ben Hardy), the film encumbers us with a pedantic voice-over recitation of their heights, ages and average cellphone battery charges.

Based on the Y.A. book “The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,” the movie traces 24 hours in the lives of these two students, who are both flying to London for significant family ceremonies. The pair meet cute at Kennedy International Airport, nap in conjoining business-class seats and very nearly kiss in line for the lavatory. Jameela Jamil, perhaps embodying the pair’s cosmic good fortune, narrates their budding romance while appearing in a variety of background roles.

The movie, directed by Vanessa Caswill, hits its stride once the lovebirds touch down across the pond, where the stats subside and the cast, particularly Richardson and Sally Phillips as Oliver’s ailing mother, come aglow with authentic feeling. What are the odds that a premise as unimaginative as this one should emerge as a sturdy little romantic drama? Jamil would know.

Love at First Sight
Rated PG-13 for language and qualitative variables. Running time: 1 hour 30 minutes. Watch on Netflix.


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