One True Loves (2023)

One True Loves (2023)

A tonally confused romance adaptation that tries to speed through the novel’s realizations

4.5

Movie

Germany, United States of America
English
Comedy, Drama, Romance
2023
ANDY FICKMAN
Beth Broderick, Christina Bach, Cooper van Grootel
100 min

TLDR

Why can’t this be a mini-series?!

What it's about

Four years after her husband Jesse disappears in a helicopter crash, Emma is ready to move on to marry her childhood best friend Sam. However, Jesse turns out to be alive, making her torn between the two.

The take

There’s no way to escape it– the plotline of One True Loves feels like the other side of Cast Away (2000), but instead of focusing on the survival aspect, it focuses on the wife trying to move on with grief. The original novel portrays Emma moving on through reclaiming her past, and learning to appreciate the roots she’s tried to forget with her lost husband. However, the film adaptation falters in depicting the personal, inner world of Emma, as it bungles through the timelines with Hallmark-esque quotes and disarranged scenes. It tries to save the film through its star-studded cast, but their decent performances can’t save the way the film is structured.

What stands out

One True Loves is based on a novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid, primarily focusing from Emma’s perspective. Because of this, there was always going to be some difficulty in portraying the full story, considering that it has to shift the stream of consciousness, and the novel has three separate sections: Emma and Jesse’s love story, Emma and Sam’s love story, and the way Emma tries to navigate it. That being said, this could have been a three-part mini-series so that they can actually delve deep into the drama, instead of shifting the timelines ever so often and intercutting Emma and Jesse’s discussion with Sam’s slightly comedic breakdown. Limiting the runtime limits the dramatic potential for the story, and it shows with how the film tries to rush realizations through sappy Hallmark-esque quotes.

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