Mira isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to fall in love again. What she had with her last boyfriend, John, was pretty perfect. They were on the verge of that illusive happily ever after that people say never happens these days. But in their case, it didn’t. John was taken in an accident with a drunk driver.
How do you bounce back from that?
The fact is, you don’t. Or at least, Mira hasn’t. And everything in her life has suffered in the two years since John’s tragic death. She used to be a very successful children’s book author and artist. But now all her formerly happy, rainbow-colored caterpillars are sad, weeping and gray. That doesn’t sell kids’ books.
Mira’s sister and friends have tried to pull her out of her grief. But their well-meaning efforts haven’t helped. Then Mira decides to give one small bit of advice a try. A good friend dealing with his own tragic loss suggests that he makes it through by sitting down with a glass of wine and sharing his thoughts with an empty chair representing his deceased wife. It helps him talk things out. Even vent sometimes.
When Mira tries this wine-and-vent ritual, however, she feels silly. It’s not her. But then an idea hits her: She could also text her thoughts and feelings. She and John used to do that all the time when he was out of town.
But have you ever wondered what happens to a phone number once its former user passes away? That’s right: It’s eventually given to someone new. And in this case that new someone is a guy named Rob.
Rob has had a few love issues of his own. His fiancée walked out on him just a week before their wedding. And that’s left him a bit wrung out and romantically gun-shy, too. But then, out of the blue, his new work phone begins receiving texts from an unknown number. Beautiful texts. Texts filled with poetic thoughts about loss and grief and love. Texts that swirl before Rob’s eyes with the grace of a ballet dancer. They lift him. They heal him.
Is it possible, do you think, that you can fall in love with someone simply by reading their thoughts and feelings?
Rob’s coworkers assure him the words are likely a scam, or a ploy, or maybe the blatherings of a creepy old grandmother lurking out there in the digital ether somewhere. But Rob is certain that none of those theories are true. These have to be heartfelt missives from someone very, very special.
If he’s correct, though, what now? How do you track down someone and “accidentally” meet them without letting on that you’ve been peeking in on their most intimate thoughts?
Ah, that’s stuff right out of a movie, right?
Amid this film’s typical (and at times silly) rom-com conventions, it earnestly suggests that a tragic loss doesn’t have to derail someone’s life. Singer Céline Dion shows up as a character here to declare that truth to Rob (who’s a music critic). She uses her own story of love and loss as an illustration.
Rob and Mira also tend to be conservative about their approach to a relationship. Even though others around them advocate simply getting sex whenever and wherever its available, Rob and Mira focus on connecting with each other and slowly peeling back the layers of their thoughts and feelings about life and love.
The closest thing to addressing spirituality is Céline Dion’s advice that Rob must open himself to the “Universe,” in a vaguely divine kind of way, to let good things rush in.
Though more imaginary than physical, Mira has a short conversation to say goodbye to her deceased boyfriend late in the film.
Mira’s sister, Suzy, repeatedly encourages her to get back out on the dating scene and suggestively says she needs to “get the d.” In fact, she signs Mira up for a dating app and shows her pics of guys (mostly all ripped and shirtless). The only guy that Mira dates from that app is a rather vacuous gym-rat type who instantly starts passionately making out with her once they get in a cab together. She tries to slow things down. But when he realizes that he isn’t going to get sex, he quickly pulls out his phone to try and connect with another date.
Rob’s gay coworker Billy is much the same. He accompanies Rob to a bar as an act of support. But then he connects with a handsome guy there who he declares he’ll “smash” later that evening.
After a while, Rob and Mira do, predictably, end up in bed. We see them the next morning. He’s lounging shirtless and she is covered only by a sheet. We also see Rob from the waist up showering.
Mira wears some cleavage-baring T-shirts. Some of her texts mention being naked with the man she loves. Rob and Mira kiss passionately on several occasions.
Céline Dion tells a story about a kiss that unlocked secret feelings inside her.
Mira’s boyfriend, John, is killed in a car accident. We see Mira’s reaction to the accident rather than the accident itself.
There’s one f-word and some 10 s-words in the dialogue, along with one or two uses each of the words “h—” and “a–hole.” Someone say that the “gods are d-cks” God’s name is misused several times.
Mira and her sister drink beer while playing a game. And later we see Mira with glasses of wine and also hard liquor. She also drinks a margarita with a date at a restaurant. For his part, Rob drinks beer on a couple occasions and has a glass of Scotch at a bar. Other patrons at a restaurant and a bar drink alcohol of various types.
Rob doesn’t exactly lie to Mira, but he does fail to tell her the whole truth. And that failure comes back to plague him.
Romantic comedies generally start with a simple central conceit, a fanciful meet-cute that brings an unlikely couple together. Then good rom-coms springboard that unlikely folderol into something entertainingly smile worthy.
Love Again has its own cute conceit. It has an attractive couple to sprinkle loving fairy dust over. It even injects lots of Céline Dion (her music and the singer herself) into the action to give things a nostalgic love song vibe.
But somebody forgot the springboard.
And that leaves us with a story that feels incredibly predictable. No twists, no turns. No surprises, no what ifs. If it gives you anything, it might make you a tad sentimental. Leaving you to wistfully think of those good clean and upright rom-coms you remember so fondly.
Content-wise, Love Again drives right down middle of the road. It’s got some sexual commentary from the protagonists’ family and friends. And it adds a completely pointless f-bomb and a jump-into-bed scene to satisfy some nebulous Hollywood formula for a PG-13 romance.
That said, this movie doesn’t push the bounds of its rating as far as many others might these days. Which is to say, it’s not as problematic as it could have been. But that’s faint praise, really, in this movie that feels like a glass half-full at best, and perhaps half-empty at worst, romantic comedy.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.