Love Again Review

Love Again
After her boyfriend is killed in a car incident, children’s book illustrator Mira Ray (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) sends texts to his phone to process her trauma. Yet when they are inadvertently received by music critic Rob Burns (Sam Heughan), he seeks the help of Celine Dion to find her.

by Lillian Crawford |
Published on

It’s bold to assume the audience of your Hollywood romcom is familiar with the opera Orpheus And Eurydice by Christoph Willibald Gluck. The Orpheus myth has inspired some of the greatest filmmakers of the past century, from Jean Cocteau to Céline Sciamma. To that lofty pantheon we must now add James C. Strouse, writer and director of Love Again. Or rather Karoline Herfurth, whose 2016 film SMS für Dich (based on a novel by Sofie Cramer), inspired it. Perhaps German cinemagoers are all Gluck aficionados.

Love Again, believe it or not, mirrors the opera beautifully. After children’s book illustrator Mira Ray (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) loses her boyfriend in a car accident, she continues to text her dead lover’s phone as a channel for her grief. His mobile is recycled and used as the work phone of music critic Rob Burns (Sam Heughan), who falls in love with Mira through her melancholic poetry. Mira reveals her adoration for Orpheus And Eurydice, currently playing in New York, and Rob attends every performance to stage an impromptu meet-cute.

They strike up a romance, only for Mira to find her texts on Rob’s phone. Like Orpheus turning to face Eurydice, which condemns her to Hades forever, Mira disappears from Rob’s life. But unlike the Orpheus myth, Gluck’s opera has the cupid-like Amore revive Eurydice after taking pity on Orpheus — and who better to embody Amore in this adaptation than Canadian diva Celine Dion, appearing as herself, to guide Rob through the nine circles of Hell? It’s a peculiar sort of genius.

To this bizarre concoction add a smattering of British stars, including Russell Tovey, Lydia West, and Celia Imrie, doing shaky American accents, and that’s Love Again. It’s roughly made, suffocated by on-screen text messages and a heavy violin score by Keegan DeWitt out of tune with the Gluck arias and Dion ballads. But when a movie moves with such ease from ‘Che farò senza Eurydice?’ to ‘It’s All Coming Back To Me Now’, one can only respond with bemused respect.

It takes courage and ingenuity to find the modern romcom formula within the operas of Gluck, sung well through SMS by Heughan and Chopra Jonas. It also stars Celine Dion.
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