It seems like every week, Netflix and all other streaming services have their fingers on the trigger when it comes to releasing romantic comedies or films that touch the idea of love somehow. Love is a very common feeling, we are all looking for it, and we are all afraid of giving it and not being reciprocated or of giving too much of it and losing it. It is a very complicated subject. This is why it is always a shame that movies’ exploration of such a universal topic always feels so generic and shallow.
Love at First Kiss is a Spanish romantic film directed by Alauda Ruiz de Azua and stars Alvaro Cervantes, Silvia Alonso, Gorka Otxoa, Susana Abaiua, and Pilar Castro. The film tells the story of Javier, the owner of a very small publisher with a very special ability. He can tell if a relationship will work by the first kiss. It is not that he has a feeling about it, no. He can see the future every time he kisses a girl, and because of that, he can tell if there is a future with that person.
The idea of someone having that kind of ability is pretty fun, and any other movie could have taken that ability and created chaos around it. Sadly, Love at First Kiss only uses the ability a couple of times and only to create the predictable conflict that will create friction between the lovers. Love at First Kiss follows the formula that has been proven time and time again in countless other movies. I think it might be impossible at this point in western civilization to ask for a different way to depict romance in film.
The movie places the idea of being truthful with yourself as the most important thing to do. If you know something is bad if you know something is not working, then why not do something about it? All the couples in the movie have these problems in their relationships, and the movie tries to make you think that just talking about it or ending the relationship is the proper solution to problems like those. It is a very simple, if shallow, idea of how relationships work. When in reality, love and any kind of relationship with any person is a lot more complicated.
Thankfully, the movie counts on a very charming set of actors that are there to elevate the material. Cervantes is our main character, Javier, and the actor walks that fine line between being dumb and just a plain jerk. You never really know, and so you are rooting for him a bit. The character divides his issues between his love life and professional life; there is nothing else to the character, and so what you see is what you get. At one point, you are made to believe that women fall for him every day of the week, and it feels pretty unbelievable.
The girls in the movie are also charming, but their characters are simple background pieces. They appear to have their own ambitions and expectations in life, but from the moment they get involved with Javier, then he is all that matters. It feels like a bit of a fantasy, really. Nothing is wrong with it, but it could have been more realistic. Although, asking that from a movie where the main character can see the future by kissing people might be a bit too much.
From a visual point of view, the movie deceives you by showing some pretty ingenious camera work and lighting effects, only to drop it completely the next moment and never return to them. It feels very much like something that is being wasted. There are so many romantic movies that forget to use visuals as a way to tell the story that it is almost scary. Most of the movie feels content with filming things exactly in the same way as everything else that is being shot and shown everywhere else.
So, it is there something to enjoy about something that becomes this predictable? Well, of course, in part, being predictable is what is good about a movie like this. I might be looking for something different and fresh, but many other people watch these movies to get their dose of romantic feelings and be content with that. If you are in need of some of that, then this movie will certainly give you what you are looking for, and that is okay. Not every movie needs to go deeper into every subject it tries to tackle.
In the end, Love at First Kiss works exactly as you expect it to. There are many moments in the film when the idea of being predictable is counted as something negative, and that is exactly the same as I feel after seeing so many movies like this for many years. I can appreciate them for what they offer, but I keep searching for something that will feel much more real and unique than anything done before. The time will come when that movie comes; until then, I remain confident about my way there.