Celine Dion and cerebrally gone: “Love Again” review
Hear ye all — This is my official petition to make every movie Celine Dion-themed — or as I like to call it — the only acceptable theme for any movie. “Love Again” is the official remake of the German film “SMS für Dich,” which in turn is based on the 2009 novel of the same name by Sofia Cramer. The film follows Mira Ray (Priyanka Chopra), a children’s book illustrator and author as she tries to recover from the loss of her partner by texting his old cell number, which now belongs to Rob Burns (Sam Heughan), a writer at a media company.
Mira is a nice change from the typical Hallmark-style cheery and bubbly rom-com protagonist we’re used to seeing. She’s a woman who’s lost the love of her life and is deeply traumatized by it. To try and deal with her trauma and the guilt that comes with wanting to move on, she accidentally starts texting Rob, not knowing that it is him.
The film makes sure to establish that Rob is English (not Scottish!) because this is a rom-com and the only acceptable form of a male protagonist is a good ole Englishman who speaks with the thickest British accent imaginable. He’s trying to start his own podcast, an idea that is shot down by his fellow Brit boss and is instead assigned to do a piece on the greatest human on the planet — Celine Dion (no, I’m not biased and this is factual reporting). The stoic Rob dispassionately sets up interviews with Celine Dion to write her profile. Except, he doesn’t quite understand her songs because he does not believe in love and thinks it’s nothing but a sham (gasp!). All this changes, when one fine day, he’s just going about his day being British and annoyed at life (the two are complimentary according to rom-coms) and starts getting texts from an unknown number that he feels an inexplicable sense of belonging and understanding with. All of this begs him to ask the question: Is he falling in love with someone he’s never even seen?
Celine Dion features as a fictionalized version of herself, and she is absolutely fantastic. She plays essentially every role in this movie — she’s the matchmaker, the sit down therapist, the sassy and savage best friend, the honest-talker and overall goddess. Celine is everything and everything is Celine. She’s also handed some of the best lines in the movie, with my personal favorite being “You have such manly hands, yet, you act like a little boy,” as she addresses Rob being a confused wuss who doesn’t want to acknowledge that he can actually feel.
Director James Strouse manages to blend all the emotions this film required perfectly into his fast-paced narrative — Mira’s trauma, the film’s hilarious comedy and the cute romance are incorporated beautifully without any tonal inconsistencies. More importantly, the comedy never overshadows the emotion (cough, Marvel, cough). The movie tells a genuine story of human resilience, daring to hope again and a second chance at love.
The soundtrack plays an important part of the narrative changing as the characters evolve and representing their internal struggles and emotions brilliantly. It is almost exclusively Celine Dion songs, which obviously makes it the best soundtrack of all time.
The cast delivers terrific performances — they all have great comedic timing and the leads share a chemistry that feels organic and real. Chopra shines among the cast — delivering a sensitive and grieving Mira with the same conviction she performs a hopeful woman trying to give life a second chance. Heughan’s deadpan is outstanding as he performs hilarious moments with a straight face. Dion is, as she always is, absolutely marvelous. The film will, of course, always be remembered for the hysterical Nick Jonas cameo as he plays Mira’s gym-dude-bro Bumble date, who has muscles to compensate for the lack of a brain.
Imagine getting a comforting hug from a loved one while “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” plays in the background — that’s this movie. Does it make a whole lot of sense when you start thinking about it? No. Is it mostly superficial when it deals with the trauma and guilt that Mira deals with? Yes. Is it still a great film that I’ll watch again when I’m depressed and stuffing my face with ice cream? Also, yes.
This is a movie you watch with your friends, snuggled in a blanket while collectively singing along to “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” and making everyone in your dorm realize you are not fit for choir, society or humanity in general. Hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll be quoting Celine Dion lyrics in normal day-to-day conversations, much like our bestie Rob. 10 out of 10, highly recommend. Watch suggestions include leaving your brain in the freezer, not asking questions, screeching obsessively everytime Dion shows up and making this film your personality.
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