MOVIE REVIEW of Love at First Sight on Netflix


Movie Review of Love at First Sight on Netflix

Released on September 15, 2023

Yes, there are a lot of new 2020s movies based on old (2010s) YA books.

What is this all about? I will delve into the general topic soon, but for now, check out my list of 2000s and 2010s YA Books that have been made into movies!

The latest YA book from the 2010s to hit the screen in the 2020s is....

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is now a movie on Netflix called Love at First Sight. 

Because that title was a mouthful even then!

You might remember this title from 2012. It's a short standalone book that takes place in 24 hours. A high schooler, Hadley, misses her flight to London. She's headed there to see her father remarry, and she's pretty bitter about it. In the boarding lounge, she meets college student Oliver, who is reluctantly headed to a family gathering of his own. They meet, they are separated, they reunite.

What Did I Think of Love At First Sight on Netflix?

Overall, I think Love at First Sight, while not the greatest of rom coms, was a good adaptation of the book.  

I was actually surprised that this book got adapted. 

Yes, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was very popular book at the time and made author Jennifer E. Smith more of a household name. But the story is really internal, with not much of a plot. So much of the story takes place in Hadley's head that I wondered how the screenwriters were going to fill up 90 minutes.

This book always reminded me of Four Weddings and a Funeral, which is also about an American and a Brit who meet by chance at a wedding and fall in love. The movie just solidified that opinion!

Who Stars in Love At First Sight on Netflix?

Haley Lu Richardson plays main character Hadley. At age 28, Richardson is eleven years older than the book's main character, but the move got around that by making Hadley an NYU student instead of a high school student. And I'm a Haley Lu fan, even in this show, where her character got a lot of hate...

Haley/Hadley is a good rom com main character. She's pretty but not intimidatingly so. She has that feisty but vulnerable vibe that we love in white rom com queens like Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan.

British actor Ben Hardy plays love interest Oliver. He's supposed to be a Yale student but the people I watched with and I decided he looked like he was in his thirties (thank you British actors for not getting Botox!) Yes, he's 31.  But I thought he was a charming love interest and a good Oliver, even if Oliver had dark hair in the book.

What Are the Differences Between the book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and the Netflix movie Love At First Sight?

There are a few mild spoilers ahead, but do rom coms really have spoilers? The main characters fall in love. We know this will happen.

Tell me in comments if you noticed any more differences!

The opening of the movie is very similar to the book. Hadley misses her flight to her father's wedding in London. She's put on a later flight and, in the boarding area, meets fellow passenger Oliver.

YES, all food courts in JFK look exactly like this, with cute carpet and mood lighting (falls over laughing)...

Book vs. Movie Difference ONE: 

In the movie there's a (somewhat annoying) character played by Jameela Jamil who is supposed to represent Fate. She pops up repeatedly throughout the movie.  Again, this movie is low plot and doesn't even have that many characters, so ... okay. YES, this adaptation pounds home the fated mates theme.

Book v. Movie Difference TWO: 

In the book Hadley and Oliver are sitting in the same row on the plane. Quelle surprise!  

In the movie, Hadley is forced to buy a business class ticket (my viewing companions and I spent half the movie saying what a terrible business class this flight had, with TV dinners. But it did have PJs, so ok). 

Oliver is in coach, but his seat belt is broken and Fate (the flight attendant) moves him to the empty seat next to Hadley. Getting upgraded is the dream, right? More than meeting your true love?

Book v Movie Difference THREE: In the movie, Oliver is a bit more of an eccentric statistician 

His quoting statistics got pretty old pretty fast, BUT I see the reason for this. In the movie, his mother got cancer when he was a child and she beat the odds, only for it to return. So his obsession with statistics and using them to feel safe was a nice thematic tough. Unfortnately, we had to listen to him do this for 2/3 of the movie before realizing there was a reason for it. 

Book v Movie Difference FOUR: In the book, Hadley's relationship with her mom is a big part of the story. In the movie, Hadley's mom is pretty non-existent.

Book v Movie Difference FIVE: SPOILER

In the book, Hadley thinks that Oliver is also on his way to a wedding, but he's actually headed to his father's funeral. In the movie, Oliver is headed to a living memorial service for his mother, who is terminally ill. The change was a bit jarring but I can see the reason for it. 

Hadley's relationship with her mother is all internal monologue and her relationship with her father is a bit part of the story. So maybe the filmmakers made the decision to switch to a mother (though of course, the Dead Mother is a HUGE YA trope that got a little old.) In the movie, Oliver's parents are theater actors an the entire memorial is Shakespeare themed, which had a nice eccentric British feel.

Book v Movie Difference SIX: In the book, Hadley overhears that Charlotte, her new stepmother, is pregnant

If this was in the movie, I missed it. I have a disruptive dog, sorry! I kind of wonder why they switched that out, because the main tension in the story is Hadley's resentment over her father's remarriage. 

Again, if I missed anything, please leave a comment. 

If you loved this book (or the movie) here's a recommendation of a book (and another movie) to try:

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (2017) has a similar vibe, and also deals with a main character whose dad has remarried. 

Along for the Ride was also made into a Netflix movie, which I reviewed here! And also talked about the book vs. movie differences. Check it out!


  1. I didn't see the film, but I loved this book. Along for the Ride is my favorite Dessen too (What can I say? I am an outlier)

    1. Hi!!! Strangely, the movie made me realize how similar these two books are, with the girls whose fathers remarried and they are not thrilled about it. If you have Netflix you should check the movie out; I think you'd like it!


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