Fate is an important theme within the movie, ‘Love at First Sight’, and love is the result of simply choosing to align with one’s fate. The narrator explains that this sentiment is the reason behind two people falling in love, however, I think it’s more about the influential people in the future couple’s lives.
Characters, Hadley and Oliver, happen to be both flying from New York to London. They meet in an airport after Hadley, played by Haley Lu Richardson, misses her original flight to London by 4 minutes. Her character is quickly described as someone who’s usually late, never has her phone charged as much as it should be, and hates mayonnaise, almost as much as she fears divorce.
Thanks to her missed flight and uncharged phone she has the opportunity to meet Oliver, played by Ben Hardy. Oliver is from London, but has been studying data statistics and data science at Yale. His character is described as someone who hates surprises and dislikes mayonnaise as well. Their interactions are cute and filled with sarcastic commentary, but it’s clear from the beginning that they’re two different people.
Of course, once they board the plane Oliver’s original seatbelt at his assigned seat is broken and ends up being seated next to Hadley. They spend the rest of the flight opening up to each other a little, or at least Hadley does. Oliver doesn’t reveal why he’s headed to London and just focuses on what Hadley has to say about her dad getting remarried. The chemistry is strong while on the plane, but honestly, the scenes were a little too cheesy for my liking. The second half of the movie had my interest a bit more.
While the narrator kept showing up to help the couple out, like a personified version of fate, I’d argue it was the lessons Hadley and Oliver learned from their situations with their family members that cleared the path for them to come together.
It may have been fate that they met at the airport, but the scenes of them actually in London once their flight had landed seemed to be all about learning how to navigate major life changes and being open to not only accepting the present moment, but finding the beauty within it.
Turns out, Oliver’s mom has cancer and has chosen not to receive any treatment. She’s having a memorial for herself so that she has the opportunity to say goodbye to everyone she loves and to celebrate the experiences and people in her life that made it worth living.
The scenes at the Shakespeare themed memorial for Tessa, Oliver’s mom, are beautiful and support the plot nicely. From the beginning the audience is given many different statistics for whatever the situation is at that specific point in the plot. It’s at the memorial that this notion of trying to understand our experiences through quantity doesn’t make them anymore valuable.
Oliver realizes that weighing the likelihood of things and keeping count of experiences doesn’t accurately reflect them. Similarly, Hadely comes to her own revelation due to a conversation she has with her dad. Due to both of the parent’s perspectives about choosing to live and adjust as it changes, brings a sense of closure to two characters who desperately want to understand life and love.
It’s through the lessons that Hadely and Oliver learn that enable them to open their hearts to one another. The narrator says the film isn’t about love, but is about fate, however it is the love of family that opens up the hearts of two characters who feel deeply conflicted about what’s happening in their worlds.