Romantic stories set in a 24-hour window have almost become scarce. A good romantic movie that has a happy ending will always bring a smile to your face. Love at First Sight (2023), starring Haley Lu Richardson and Ben Hardy, now streaming on Netflix, is a heartwarming meet-cute that manages to create two broken characters who feel whole in spite of their insecurities and inhibitions. It’s a well-written tale that somehow builds up on that and lets these characters breathe in each other’s silence, giving them a sense of comfort and hope in a romantic entanglement.
The film also gives us a moment to understand that children coming from stable households with supportive parents may still have to taste the bitterness that life offers them. In a subtle way, it also shows how compassion and validation from parents are as essential as just being there. Additionally, the chemistry between the leading pair is enchanting and reason enough to venture out and give it a go.
Love at First Sight is worth your time, even if it feels like a cheesy addition to the romance genre.
Note: If you want to experience the movie for yourself, I’d recommend going through the article only if you have seen the movie yourself. Spoilers ahead!
Love at First Sight (2023) ‘Netflix’ Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:
20-year-old Hadley Sullivan is late and running to catch a flight to London, but she misses her flight by just 4 minutes because of her tardy personality. She then books herself a business class flight that will take off after 90 minutes, leading her to meet 22-year-old Oliver, who is on his way to attend her mother’s memorial. While Hadley is going to attend her father’s second wedding, Oliver, too, is heading to London. As they decide to spend time together while waiting for their flight, we learn that Hadley has always been private about sharing her life moments with strangers.
After experiencing an unexpected separation that led her father to move to London and pursue his career, Hadley has always been inclined to the literary world. On the other hand, Oliver, who found out his mother was going to die, started to see the world through numbers, which eventually led him to study statistics in the US. The movie uses a serendipity metaphor to show how two broken and private people often end up coming together. The two of them bond with each other during the entire flight, with Oliver also sharing his contact number in case Hadley wanted to take things ahead. However, her phone dies before she can save it.
Saddened by missing the opportunity of meeting this guy again, Hadley then attended her father’s wedding in Shoreditch. After the ceremony is over, Hadley’s father finally meets his daughter after a year, leaving both of them with customary greetings and small talk. Hadley also meets her new stepmother, who is extremely nice to her. When she overhears a guest excusing themselves to attend a memorial in Peckham, Hadley cannot ignore the signs that she must be there for Oliver. She promises her father that she will come back before the reception and quickly takes a bus to the city.
While Hadley is on her way, we learn that Oliver’s mother is, in fact, not dead but has invited everyone to her self-organised memorial so that she can bid everyone a proper goodbye. Now we understand why numbers are extremely important for Oliver as he is struggling to add more numbers to his mother’s life. After reaching Peckham, Hadley asks a random lady (Jamila Khan, who plays the role of Cupid to Hadley) to point her to the church, where she finally meets Oliver.
Smitten by the Shakespere-themed event, Hadley finally meets Oliver’s parents and learns that his mother is not dead. She confronts Oliver about why he didn’t tell her about this, despite knowing she was heading to a wedding. Oliver kisses her, but Hadley stops, saying that this is not the right time to express such feelings. He then tells her that this is how he wants to express himself to her instead of feeling sad and gloomy about losing his mother when she has a high probability of living if she gets the treatment. He also gets offended and tells her that he can’t talk about personal things with a girl whom he just met. Hadley feels hurt and immediately leaves, forgetting her backpack. Oliver makes a heartwarming speech, ending the memorial service.
Love at First Sight (2023) ‘Netflix’ Movie Ending, Explained:
Do Hadley and Oliver have a happy ending?
On her way to catch the bus, Hadley realizes she left her backpack and ends up at a flee market, where she trades her boots for sneakers. She then borrows someone’s phone to call her father and tell him that she is lost. When her father comes to pick her up, the duo have a much-needed confrontational moment. We learn that despite trying his best, Hadley’s father could not save his marriage, but by marrying his second wife, he realized he had lost his way to his daughter. In a cathartic moment, Hadley then shares that she misses him and his time with her, which made her not be surprised by unexpected moments. The two of them then head back to the reception.
Meanwhile, Oliver’s family coaxes him to go after Hadley and not live by probabilities. When Oliver’s father tells him that had he known about his wife’s illness before he met her, things would still be the same. Oliver then asks his family to drop him at Shoreditch.
The ending of Love at First Sight shows Oliver apologizing for snapping at Hadley, and both of them end up kissing one another while the narrator (the cupid) foretells us the statistics of Hadley and Oliver’s romantic beginning.