Love Again – movie review

Based on the novel Text for You by Sofie Cramer, Jim Strouse’s (The Incredible Jessica James) Love Again is a fantasy dramedy, where everything is carefully manufactured to get to the outcome you know is coming.  That, of course, involves inevitable bumps along the road. Naturally, it’s the journey that counts – at least from the perspective of the viewer.

Children’s book author Mira Ray (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) is deeply in love with John (Arinze Kene), when he is tragically killed by a drunk driver. Understandably, she goes into a deep funk and seeks solitude by moving in with her parents. Two years on, after umpteen overtures, her sister Suzy (Sofia Barclay) manages to convince Mira to head back to the city, so the pair can live together. John’s untimely death continues to haunt Mira as she has an awkward dating encounter with Joel (Nick Jonas – Chopra Jonas’ real-life husband).

Rob Burns (Sam Heughan) is a music critic for the (fictional) New York Chronicle. He was shocked when his fiancé dumped him without explanation seven days before they were due to walk down the aisle. Against his better judgment, his boss Richard Hughes (Steve Oram) tasks him with writing a feature piece about Celine Dion. Never backward in coming forward, Dion ends up giving him life and relationship advice. Out of the blue, Rob starts receiving heartfelt text messages on his work mobile.  Unknown to him, they’re from Mira, who is texting her dead boyfriend as an act of catharsis. Of course, Mira has no idea that John’s former number has been reassigned. Rob is deeply moved by the messages, and sets out to meet the person who sent them. When he does, their connection is immediate. But he withholds details of his past, shattering Mira’s trust.

The story plays out with respect and charm. I appreciated the quirkiness to the characterisations of the two sisters, as well as the moral compass that drives Mira’s actions.

Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sofia Barclay bring intoxicating, playful qualities to the fore. Rob Burns has been written as an awkward nice guy, which Sam Heughan capitalises on. Lydia West does a good job as Burns’ dismissive younger workmate Lisa Scott. In her big screen debut, Celine Dion has fun making the most of her diva reputation.

Featuring several new songs from Dion and a strong score, Love Again is a film for romantics who are prepared to invest in make-believe.

Alex First

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