Love again

Love again
Original title:Love again
Director:James C. Strouse
Running time:104 minutes
Release date:05 may 2023
Mira Ray tries to come to terms with the death of her fiancé, and sends a series of romantic messages to his phone number... not realizing that the number had been reassigned to Rob Burns' new business phone. As a journalist, Rob is captivated by the sincerity of these sublime epistolary confessions. When he's assigned the task of writing mega-star Céline Dion's portrait, he enlists her help in figuring out how to meet Mira face-to-face... and win her heart.

Mulder's Review

"Where does my heart beat now? 
Where is the sound
That only echoes through the night?
Where does my heart beat now?
I can't live without
Without feeling it inside
Where do all the lonely hearts go? " 
Where Does My Heart Beat Now - Celine Dion

Cinema and music have a special relationship in our hearts, as they can really affect us, move us, transport us or simply inspire us to do great things. Behind these works, there are often people using their personal inspiration to try and share with their audience important themes such as grief, true love or finding a personal balance between work and private life. Love Again may not revolutionize the comedy-drama genre, but it does have enough going for it. 

Whether it's the presence of the superb Priyanka Chopra Jonas (Citadel series on Prime Video), comedian Sam Heughan (Outlander series) and artist Céline Dion in her own role, a simplistic but compelling script or successful supporting roles (such as Rob Burns' two colleagues or Mira Ray's sister), Love again manages to soften our hearts and show us that our lives can only be complete by finding our better half, even if this takes a lifetime or follows personal traumas such as losing the love of your life or being left a week before your wedding by your wife. Certainly, the two main characters Rob Burns and Mira Ray will have to listen to their hearts to overcome many obstacles. The original premise of this film is to find out if a random text message can help you find the love of your life? Does fate really exist, and can it unite two people who would never have met?

Mira Ray (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) is coping with the loss of her fiancé, who was tragically run over by a drunk driver on a New York street. Two years after the tragedy, she begins sending romantic text messages 
to her deceased husband's old cell phone number, she can't help imagining that one person, music journalist Rob Burns (Sam Heughan), will receive them on his work phone. Having been dumped a week before his wedding by the love of his life, Rob is struggling to regain his self-confidence and feels that love is dead to him. Rob, captivated by the honesty of these texts, which are so many confessions, decides to seek out the woman who is sending him his text messages. But he's very busy, as his boss has put him in charge of writing an article about the world-famous artist Céline Dion. Rob Burns meets the artist, and a bond develops between them based on shared respect and a desire to express themselves. When Rob Burns succeeds in meeting Mira Ray, however, he hides from her the fact that he receives the text messages she sends to her deceased husband. Once the truth is known, things get complicated, but of course, love triumphs (this is an American romantic comedy-drama, where every twist and turn is known in advance, leaving few surprises).

Love again joins the long list of American remakes of European films.  SMS für Dich by Karoline Herfurth was released in Germany in September 2016 and was itself an adaptation of the novel by Heidi Goch (published under the name Sofie Cramer). The book told the story of Clara, a young woman who has just lost her boyfriend Ben in a car accident. In her grief, Clara starts texting Ben's old cell phone number to cope with her loss. Unbeknownst to Clara, the number has been reassigned to a man named Mark. Mark, going through his own emotional difficulties after a failed relationship, receives Clara's messages and is intrigued by her. What follows is a series of text exchanges between Clara and Mark, leading to a budding friendship and potentially to something more. James C. Strouse's script takes the same storyline and adds the presence of Céline Dion and many of her songs (as well as some previously unreleased ones).  Also credited as executive producer, Céline Dion is a natural in front of the camera, and her presence reinforces the film's credibility and our view of this romantic story, which would have been much better received in the U.S. if it had been released for Valentine's Day instead of early May (early June in France).

Love Again explores themes of love, loss and the power of human connection in the digital age. It tackles the complexities of dealing with grief and finding comfort in unexpected places with real emotional force on screen.  While the film isn't innovative in itself, it's a pleasure to watch, and reminds us that life's greatest adventure is finding your better half, and accepting him or her with all his or her many faults and qualities, because "Love Can Move Mountains".

Love Again
Written and directed by James C. Strouse
Based on SMS für Dich by Andrea Willson, Malte Welding, Karoline Herfurth, Sophie Kluge, Anike Decker and SMS für Dich by Sofie Cramer
Produced by Basil Iwanyk, Erica Lee, Esther Hornstein
Starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan, Celine Dion
Cinematography : Andrew Dunn
Edited by Jesse Gordon
Music by Keegan DeWitt
Production companies : Screen Gems, 2.0 Entertainment, Thunder Road Films
Distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing
Release date : May 5, 2023 (United States), June 7, 2023 (France)
Running time : 104 minutes

Viewed on: June 3, 2023 (VOD)

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