Love in the Villa review: Generic rom-com with moments of brilliance

Netflix’s Love in the Villa is a romantic-comedy that follows Julie (Kat Graham), a third grade teacher in America who travels to Verona, Italy by herself after her boyfriend dumps her. However, her trip gets worse when she has to share the villa with a British man named Charlie Fletcher (Tom Hopper), due to a booking error.

Story

Love in the Villa opens by introducing Julie Hutton, a third grade teacher in America who is a hopeless romantic and obsessed with Romeo and Juliet. She prepares herself to go on a romantic getaway with her boyfriend of four years, Brandon. 

Unfortunately, Brandon freaks out because of Julie’s controlling nature and breaks up with her before the trip. Devastated, she still decides to go as it has always been her dream to visit the city in which her favourite tragedy is set. 

However, to make matters worse, she finds out that the villa she’s rented — La Villa Romantica — has accidentally been double booked by the host. Now, she has to share it with a good-looking yet arrogant Brit named Charlie Fletcher who works for England’s largest wine exporter.

The two start off as rivals, playing tricks to make the other leave, but soon bond and discover an unlikely spark between themselves. As things start to get warmer, a rude shock awaits.

Performances

Kat Graham (The Vampire Diaries, Operation Christmas Drop) and Tom Hopper (The Umbrella Academy, Game of Thrones), are powerhouse performers and their resume speaks for itself. The two deliver brilliant performances which carry the whole film.

Graham’s character succeeds in making you feel sorry for her vulnerability and bad luck. However, you also tend to respect her determination to make the most of her dream trip no matter the cost. It is quite easy to buy her as a regular woman wanting a life of romance.

Hopper as the obnoxious and dry humoured Brit is a treat to watch. Charlie is the polar opposite to Julie and makes for the perfect balance between the two. However, there are hidden layers of romance and tenderness to his character that come out at just the right times and work splendidly.

Positives

The chemistry between the leading pair is uncanny. Due to their drastically different personalities, the two play off of each other extremely well. From their disagreements and prank battles to friendship and eventual love, the progression feels very natural and unforced.

Despite its obviously predictable plot, there are some very though provoking moments in the film. The discussions between the leading pair about destiny, romance, love and life are well written and prevent it from becoming just another Netflix rom-com.

The hopeless romance element in Love in the Villa exists, but it is spread subtly across the entire narrative. There aren’t preachy moments in the film where characters try to enforce an idea onto the viewers. It is done via aforementioned conversations and that is a refreshing take on it.

Negatives

Love in the Villa also suffers from a lot of unrealism, as any rom-com would. There is too much plot convenience for the two characters to get together which takes the fun out of it.

The predictability was always going to be a minus point but it could have been handled much better if more attention was given to the characters away from their love arc. The lead pair has so much more to offer but director Mark Steven Johnson underutilises his biggest assets.

We get the gist of who the characters are but there is no depth to their personalities. The exchanges between them help bring an extra layer out but it is short lived.

It is mentioned that a trip to Verona has been Julie’s lifelong dream but somehow that aspect of the plot vanishes into nothingness the moment Charlie’s character shows up.

Lastly, despite its best efforts, Love in the Villa descends into unbearably cheesy territory which leaves you wondering if certain creative choices were really necessary.

Verdict

There is no doubt that the film is worth a watch. The premise is unique, the plot is mildly refreshing and features splendid chemistry between the leads. However, you might want to switch off your brain and not get too technical if you want to completely enjoy it.

Love in the Villa
Love in the Villa review: Generic rom-com with moments of brilliance 1

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Date Created: 2022-09-01 23:54

Editor's Rating:
2.5

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