Movies, Reviews

Love at First Sight Review: Sometimes Messy is Beautiful

In typical rom-com fashion, Netflix’s latest, Love at First Sight, catches us laughing, crying, and falling in love right along with Hadley and Oliver.

While their journey toward finally sealing their love with a kiss isn’t linear, and at times over-the-t0p insane, it still manages to catch us right in the chest. We find ourselves believing in these characters from the start because they make it all seem so easy.

Hadley’s consistently messy and disorganized personality is the perfect answer to Oliver’s overly logical and controlled persona. In a weird way that usually doesn’t happen in today’s world, their paths cross, and instead of ignoring the other, they decide to engage.

Who Said You Can’t Fall For A Stranger?

Love at First Sight. Haley Lu Richardson as Hadley Sullivan and Ben Hardy as Oliver Jones in Love at First Sight. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

In current society, way too many people are engrossed in their technology, never giving the people around them a second glance. So, what happens when one person’s phone dies and another person offers their charger?

Love, plain and simple. Sure, on paper the idea that a chaos demon such as Hadley taking advantage of Oliver’s kindness in the airport should lead to any further connection seems implausible.

However, the writing for Love at First Sight somehow leans into the pure unlikeliness of each of these scenarios leading to the next series of events. This allows for a truly kismet version of romance to spring up in a way that hasn’t been experienced in decades.

It’s a love story for the ages set against the backdrop of a modern world more connected by phone screens than face-to-face interactions. These two characters take a chance on each other and, in the span of mere hours, manage to change each other for the better.

Many viewers might come into this film like Oliver would and state the statistics of such meetings not working out in the long run. However, I implore more viewers to take the Hadley view on life and just let the seat of your pants guide you over the finish line — no need for statistics when you’re just having fun.

Love Isn’t Just For Hadley and Oliver

Love at First Sight. (L to R) Haley Lu Richardson as Hadley Sullivan and Ben Hardy as Oliver Jones in Love at First Sight. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

What really adds to the magic and wonder of this film is the beauty within the storytelling around Hadley and Oliver’s road to romance. Their outside lives are just as important to the plot as their mutual journey.

By introducing the audience to their fears within the first half hour of Love at First Sight, the writers ensure that viewers know and understand these characters’ family dynamics. It’s clear early on that Hadley feels betrayed by the father she is traveling to see, while Oliver loves his mother deeply.

Their familial relationships come into play multiple times throughout the film, proving time and again that love can come in different forms. And that these characters were meant to enter each other’s lives in order to help their outside relationships.

Oliver sees Hadley’s emotions for her father’s new marriage where she’s at and gently suggests she talk to him. He doesn’t push her or preach to her the importance of family. Instead, we get one line about how he’s perceived that she has a close relationship with her father.

While information about Oliver’s familial relationship is very much hard-won on Hadley’s part, it doesn’t make it any less significant. He is a young man who loves his family so strongly that the thought of losing one of them is forcing his statistical analysis brain into overdrive.

He loves his mother so much and is so pained at the thought of losing her that he refuses to let Hadley get too close. Despite showing obvious signs that he cares for her.

Shakespeare and Dickens Are Perfect Channels

Love at First Sight. Haley Lu Richardson as Hadley Sullivan in Love at First Sight. Cr. Rob Baker Ashton/Netflix © 2023

One of the common threads within Love at First Sight is literary greats, Dickens and Shakespeare.

For Hadley, her life has centered around her and her father’s love of Charles Dickens. Oliver’s mother and father met through performing Shakespeare and continued to instill their love of the bard in their own children.

There is something within the magic and romance of these two very different writers that adds to the beautiful mess that is Hadley and Oliver’s story. Without these connections, their story could’ve fallen flat or become just too improbable to accept.

After all, many of Shakespeare’s plays involve romance through a fantastical lens that isn’t meant to make sense. It’s supposed to just be because the bard says it is.

Love at First Sight. Ben Hardy as Oliver Jones in Love at First Sight. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

That is much like these two young people from entirely different worlds. It doesn’t make sense that they would just know it was love after a few short moments together, but they do, and it translates as something so fragile and beautiful that everyone around them believes in it.

Hadley spends most of the film thinking about the only line from a Dickens novel her father recently gifted her that she’s read. It talks about taking chances on something because not having it is worse than having and then losing it.

She isn’t the kind of girl who dives headfirst into things because she is too afraid of the heartache that she knows love can cause. Meanwhile, Oliver believes in the power of love but doesn’t want to risk it for fear of someday losing it.

They are essentially two sides of the same coin that come together and miraculously challenge each other to be brave.

In the end, Love at First Sight is here to remind us that love rarely makes sense and can come in many forms.


Love at First Sight is currently streaming on Netflix.


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Mads is a part-time entertainment journalist and full-time marketing content creator. They love reading the latest in Queer novels -- especially romance ones and watching the latest dramas, sci-fi/fantasy, Star Wars, and romcom films/TV shows. You can join the conversation by following them on Twitter: @dorothynyc89.

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