A romance blooms in Verona
published on: Sep 9, 2022 at 04:00
Tom Hopper and Kat Graham in Love In The Villa. Photos © NETFLIX
Netflix’s latest original Love In The Villa seems to have all the ingredients for a good rom-com from a Shakespeare-inspired love story, a beautiful countryside setting, protagonists with quirky personalities, and even a gay best friend. sassy who is always there to give advice to the main character. But sadly, Love In The Villa also has flaws that make it nothing more than another run-of-the-mill rom-com off Netflix’s assembly line.
love at the villa stars Kat Graham as Julie Hutton, a third-grade teacher with a passion for romance and Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet, who is planning a trip to Verona with her boyfriend Brandon (Raymond Ablack). But unfortunate circumstances force Julie to go on a trip alone. She arrives at her Airbnb at the scheduled time, where she meets a cynical but handsome Brit named Charlie Fletcher (Tom Hopper). Right away, the two initially don’t like each other, especially when they realize that the villa they booked has been double-booked, causing them to stay together for an entire week. The two must figure out how to get along or kill each other, but since this is a romantic comedy, we can predict the direction it will take.
The title alone gives us a pretty good idea of how generic the film is, and it ends up being exactly that. The story is a typical romantic comedy plot about two people with totally different personalities forced to be together. We see the jokes and pranks they play on each other and although they can get off to a rocky start, things eventually heat up between the two, leading to an inevitable romance.
Some of the main problems with love at the villa are the cast and the script. While it’s not only unable to put its own spin on this familiar concept, on top of that the character designs aren’t appealing. While there’s nothing wrong with Graham and Hopper’s performances, I don’t see any chemistry between the two, especially the way they go from contestants to lovers in the second half of the movie. It just doesn’t feel substantial, compelling, or organic.
Now that it’s set in Italy, we get some shots from the city and even the countryside. But I really wish we were shown more, especially because Julie is in Verona because of her obsession with Romeo and Juliet. At the start of the film, the point of what Julie really wants to explore is played out, but we end up not seeing much of her exploration. Instead, most of the first half takes place almost exclusively in the villa, making it a boring task at times.
Perhaps one of the best parts of the film is the soundtrack, as we hear many excellent Italian language versions of some well-known pop songs such as Nancy Sinatra. Bang Bang (My baby shot me down) and These boots are made for walking; Monkeys I am a believer; or Procol Harum A whiter shade of pale.
Overall, I can’t say I was impressed with the chemistry between the main characters or the cliched story structure, because most of the stories in love in the villa looks like it is designed for those with a simple mind. However, the visuals and beautiful locations, music, and activities the characters do around the Italian city make it more appealing. If you’re into romantic comedies, especially ones that are familiar in the same vein as those on the Hallmark Channel, this might be the one for you.