Sounds Like Love  Netflix Review: A Fleabag-esque rom-com that is not clever enough
Based on the Best Selling book series (at least that’s what the trailer claims) by Elisabet Benavent, Sounds Like Love (Fuimos canciones) does everything in its limitation to replicate the incredibly successful British series Fleabag.
Pretty much like the Phoebe Waller-Bridge helmer, the Spanish film is about a woman who talks to the camera. The similarities end there, though. Because, unlike Fleabag, there’s no major tragedy at the center of this story (if you consider a serious relationship ending abruptly as a tragedy then we aren’t on the same page). While there is a sort of dry wit that Maca (María Valverde) and her two best friends showcase that hearken back to the super-successful show, unlike Fleabag, the three women keep important stuff under concealers.
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Anyhow, the plot kicks off with Maca – a young woman who works as an assistant to a fashion influencer named Pipa (imagine The Devil Wears Prada’s Miranda Priestly high on 10 Red-Bulls and you will get the drift). While her job is groovy and pays well, her boss is quite frankly bitchy (for the lack of a better word). The two of them don’t tessellate together and Maca is suffering from a lack of appreciation for the effort she puts in.
With things not going her way presently, Maca’s support system is her gang. Her two best friends Adriana (Susana Abaitua) & Jime (Elisabet Casanovas) and a string of random flings keep her going. However, she is unable to move on. The thought of ex-lover Leo (Álex González) keeps ringing in her head. In spite of her self-boosting, woman for woman directive, she is hinged to her past.
In fact, the idea of not being able to move on is at the center of Sounds Like Love. Maca’s friend Adriana is a married woman who is struggling to keep things going with her husband. In spite of trying every rule book in the ‘keeping your marriage intact’ sermon (including a suggestive threesome that completely rattles her life), she is just not ready to accept that her marriage is not working anymore.
Jime, on the other hand, is a feisty young girl who is a necrophiliac. After losing one of her ‘perfect lovers’ she is obsessed with a person who would show traits of that guy who died. She believes that the reincarnation of the now dead guy would be a perfect partner for her. As weird as this sounds, Elisabet Casanovas’s interesting turn makes it quite believable.
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The real conflict in the film arises when Leo suddenly reappears in Madrid city. He is now dating a supportive young influencer who walks along with Maca’s social circles. Facing her past yet again becomes a task for Maca and her inner and working life go for a complete toss. New opportunities are on the horizon for her but the secrets that she is keeping away from her friends and her inability to move on are holding her back. Will Maca liberate herself? Or will she fall back madly in love with Leo, taking a second chance at this heartbreaking ordeal; Sounds Like Love is all about that.
Coming to the film itself, Juana Macías’ direction is inventive (if this was 2010 or something). The fourth-wall-breaking protagonist who constantly digs at romantic comedy cliches would have really worked, especially considering that pretty much every technical aspect of the film is top-notch. However, this isn’t 2010 and self-awareness only works for so long. After a point, undermining conventions become tiresome and the overall flow of the film feels like it is looking for a redemptive arc that never comes. The constant tracks that play on cue also don’t help in making this unconventional romance (on paper) feel realistic in any way.
The chemistry between the three friends is palpable and possibly the only saving grace here. María Valverde as the lead also makes us believe in the empowering power of her own story, but then again, the film is constantly trying to put her as a victim (flaws and all).
Overall, Sounds Like Love is still a pretty good time as a Netflix film. There are beautiful people to look at but every wise realization in the film is quickly rebutted with a counterpoint that thins out its very presence. So much for working itself up for nothing!