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‘Love Again’ Review: Celine Dion Is Ready for Her Close-Up & Comeback



We’ve all heard Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On,” however for those who actually take heed to the lyrics — “Love can touch us one time, And last for a lifetime … Near, far, wherever you are / I believe that the heart does go on” — the tragedy they describe applies to extra than simply comely Rose studying to stay with out her blue-eyed cabin boy. Eighteen years after “Titanic” made her a mega-star, Dion misplaced her husband and supervisor, René Angélil, and the singer has made no secret of her wrestle to maneuver on since.

An old-school, straight-faced studio romance that includes 5 new songs from Ms. Dion, writer-director Jim Strouse’s “Love Again” is all about such therapeutic — to the extent that if it had been a guide as an alternative of a film, it will be filed within the self-help part. Liberally tailored from the 2016 German movie “Texts for You” (“SMS für Dich”), the more-creepy-than-cute plot focuses on a grieving New York youngsters’s guide illustrator who sparks up a brand new relationship with the whole stranger who’s inherited her useless boyfriend’s telephone quantity. “Truly, Madly, Deeply” this isn’t.

From the patron electronics firm (I imply, film studio) that introduced you “The Emoji Movie” comes a feature-length commercial for the facility of cell telephones to convey individuals collectively. Cynical as which will sound, the film is no less than real about its emotional journey, making it an impressed option to enlist Dion to function each refrain and mascot for romantic leads Mira (Priyanka Chopra Jonas) and Rob (Sam Heughan).

Two years after watching the love of her life struck down by a self-driving automobile, or else crushed by a fleet of scooters (we’ll by no means know, since mentioned accident happens proper in entrance of Mira’s eyes, however exterior of our view), Chopra Jonas’ character continues to be having a tough time letting go. With out realizing that Rob is on the receiving finish, she begins flooding his new work telephone with wincingly intimate texts — messages about how she misses the scent of her soulmate, and her want to be bare collectively.

Rob’s a (severely underworked) music critic, heartbroken in his personal means, who’s nonetheless getting over being dumped by his fiancée on the eve of their wedding ceremony. As an alternative of being irritated by the messages, he’s touched by their sincerity, to the extent that he could even be falling for whoever’s sending them. So, like every peculiar man, he decides to stalk their supply, utilizing clues from Mira’s texts to intercept her IRL. In a single scene, he appears on whereas she suffers by way of a disastrous blind date with an inside-joke visitor star.

Enter Celine Dion, whom Rob’s been assigned to profile for the only-in-the-movies newspaper the place he “works.” Performed by the Scottish “Outlander” star with a disconcerting, what-is-he-hiding stare, he brings an odd vitality to the function. Rob could possibly be Alexander Skarsgård’s serial-killer sibling. The one distinction between this man and all of the chiseled-abs dudes Mira swipes previous on Bumble is that Rob wears shirts — although they don’t seem to have been washed in just a few days.

Edgier than the movie’s target market as he’s, Rob doesn’t assume a lot of Dion, dismissing her lyrics as sentimental and trite — which even a Celine Dion super-fan (like myself) would concede to be true. Dion’s energy is in her supply: the pure, chest-thumping conviction with which she howls traces like, “Where does my heart beat now? / Where is the sound / That only echoes through the night?” Slouchy and unshaven, Rob reveals as much as interview the singer, and she or he turns the tables: “You have the presence of a pair of used underwear,” she quips, her Canadian accent undercutting the comedian timing and chunk of that barb. (The place’s Cher whenever you want her?) The film could be extra fascinating with a few of that “Devil Wears Prada” venom, whereas Dion comes off … nicely, first rate. Therefore, the self-help vibe.

There’s not a lot chemistry between Chopra Jonas and Heughan — and the way may there be, since they’re caught in a one-way dialog for half the film? Plus, Mira’s texts are simply so unhappy. At one level, after Rob spends the night time, Mira wakes as much as hear him speaking together with her youthful sister Suzy (Sofia Barclay), and it appears for a second that maybe he’s discovered a greater match — somebody with the capability to smile. However Mira should absolutely discover a technique to love once more, and there appears to be potential, if they’ll simply get previous their One Huge Secret, which would require an absurdly unprofessional demonstration of affection.

Once more, that’s the place love guru Dion is useful, enjoying a barely fictionalized model of herself as she shares particulars from her real-life relationship with René. Although we see her robust survivor aspect, Dion’s vulnerability stays considered one of her loveliest belongings — the exact same high quality that makes her persona an excessive amount of for some individuals to take. “Love Again” was by no means meant for the skeptics, whereas admirers will admire the comeback facet of her first movie function. It’s a big-screen romance that aspires to creating followers really feel the way in which Dion’s music does, like their hearts can go on.

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