Gabriela Diaz is a successful executive from San Francisco. She’s got the cutest boyfriend, the perfect job, and promising potential in her field as an architect and designer.
But then life happens.
In the span of a few short days, Gabriela’s company is shut down, and she feels forced to break up with her boyfriend who just can’t seem to commit. Frustrated and at a loss about what comes next in her life, Gabriella is ready to call it quits. Until, that is, she randomly wins a seemingly idyllic inn in New Zealand named the Bellbird Valley Farm.
But the internet isn’t always the most reliable source. And when Gabriela arrives in Lands Down, New Zealand, she quickly realizes that her dream inn is really a huge fixer-upper. What should have been an easy job turns into months of hard work.
Is all that work really worth it? Gabriela wonders. Or should she just head back home to the rat race she was secretly thankful to get away from.
Of course, these kinds of decisions are rarely that cut and dried. Especially when life happens … again.
When Gabriela moves to New Zealand, she really believes she’s able to do life on her own. She soon learns that life is about community. Strangers become friends as locals gather around and offer to help her whenever necessary. Her friends take care of her when she’s sick, help her restore her Inn and are always hospitable.
And then there’s one special friend in particular: Jake. And it turns out Gabriela and Jake both have lessons to teach each other. Jake teaches Gabriela that it’s OK to admit when you need help; he also helps her learn to enjoy life and to love what’s right in front of you. Gabriela, for her part, teaches Jake to try new things and to fight for what he wants.
Elsewhere in the story, Gabriela also mends a few feuds and befriends an unlikely woman.
Gabriela jokes that a barista is “psychic” when he anticipates her order. She thinks her inn is haunted and causally talks about the difference between luck and superstition. Jake thinks that “the universe has its own plans.” There’s a reference to the universe lining up a perfect moment, which is equated to fate. An indigenous group of children perform a dance. A friend of Gabriela’s back home promises to “light a candle in meditation class” for her when she leaves for New Zealand.
We see Gabriela in a sports bra and yoga pants, a bikini and wearing short shorts. Jake’s shown in a swimming suit.
Gabriela’s former boyfriend makes it clear that they were, at one point, dating while he was filing for divorce. A guy jokingly says “you just called my mother a prostitute.” Gabriela and Jake sing along to a popular song about intimate dancing. Gabriela accidentally falls on top of Jake, and the two nearly kiss. Couples kiss, flirt and hold hands.
We hear and see references to a same-sex couple.
Jake tells Gabriella that his girlfriend died three years ago. Jake tells Gabriella a story about his deceased grandmother who killed and stuffed a possum out of revenge.
Gabriela and Jake find love letters in which a man writes to his beloved while serving on the front lines during World War I. Jake and a group of local firefighters put out a large house fire and save a man trapped inside.
God’s name is misused once. “H—,” “jerk” and “crap” are each uttered once. We also hear the phrases “You suck!” and “What the dumpster?!” once each. Jake and Gabriela sing the word “d–n” in a song.
Men and women alike drink wine and beer. A man falls asleep with a cigarette in his mouth.
Gabriela works in a male-dominated environment. Because of this, male coworkers often disregard her ideas and belittle her effort. Gabriela’s boyfriend is controlling and not willing to commit to her, even after two years of being in a relationship with her. As a result, she breaks up with him.
Charlotte, who owns another inn, doesn’t want Gabriela to stay in business. Instead, she offers to buy the inn from Gabriela to eliminate competition. When Gabriela refuses, Charlotte causes trouble and forces Gabriela into an uncomfortable situation.
One of Gabriela’s female friends says she had to give her boyfriend an ultimatum before he would propose. Later, she hints that they’re both in counseling and she’s “channeling her inner rage.”
A woman accidentally spits tea in a customer’s face when Gabriela runs over her prized roses. Jake and Gabriela are both stubborn. Gabriela makes a rude joke about mansplaining.
Is Falling Inn Love cheesy? You bet. Did it feel just like a Hallmark movie? Yup. Sure, some may hate these formulaic romances. But Netflix has recognized Hallmark’s enormous popularly in this area and essentially copied and pasted that formula with a growing number of original movies like this one.
Predictable, sweet and filled with so many plot holes you’re forced to laugh, Falling Inn Love is unapologetically formulaic in every way. There’s a love story, positive messages about community, and lessons learned about the importance of dependency and vulnerability.
There’s also some talk about the universe and fate, some light language and drinking, and a few elements of sexuality you’ll want to note before you decide if this new Netflix original will have you falling in love.
Kristin Smith joined the Plugged In team in 2017. Formerly a Spanish and English teacher, Kristin loves reading literature and eating authentic Mexican tacos. She and her husband, Eddy, love raising their children Judah and Selah. Kristin also has a deep affection for coffee, music, her dog (Cali) and cat (Aslan).