‘Love Again’, A Missed Celine Dion Opportunity

MUHAMMED NOSHAD thinks the gracious presence of Celine Dion and her songs don’t save Love Again from banality and predictability.

Getting to see Celine Dion acting a role, albeit as herself, is a surprising pleasure, especially when she is through hard physical ailments and her concert tours stay cancelled indefinitely. Love Again brings the charm of the pop queen as an actor – she performs the part commendably well – alongside Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan. As usual, in the original tracks Celine delivers for the movie as well, her melancholic voice enters not just one’s ears, but effortlessly flows deep somewhere in the soul. However, sadly, the five tracks and her remarkable presence, do not save the movie from falling into a passable, predictable rom-com, although it has its enjoyable moments.

Grieving for a deceased beloved and struggling to move on is not an unfamiliar theme to Hollywood. To get a glimpse of the storyline, the female lead Mira (Priyanka), an artist who works with children’s books, keeps texting the number of her dead boyfriend: her thoughts of love, longing, unending passion and more. The male lead Rob (Sam) receives these texts and never responds to them, though he gets attached to the unknown texter. A music critic, he is through the pain of a break-up and the anonymous messages apparently heal him (though the script doesn’t convince us that way). And in between there is Celine Dion about whom Rob is writing a long profile. The rest is predictable. You are just curious how both characters are going to meet and figure out things. Do they convince us of their bond through this hide-and-seek game? Sadly, no. Also, one wonders, although it’s a fictionalised version of her, would someone like Celine Dion act like a therapist to a casual interviewer and get involved in his personal life?

Hollywood, at least the mainstream version of it, often falls short while dealing with fundamental human experiences like death and the grief of separation. Often, these subjects are conveniently treated as raw material for “feel-good” plots. As a result, you have banal, predictable movies, with no depth and gravity.

Here, the director James Strouse, with Celine Dion takes the story to some motivational move-on stuff. The scene where she talks about her marriage, love and loss is remarkable. The movie does have a few striking conversations here and there; otherwise, the characters sound direct and plain.

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