As and After Yang) and you’d have the perfect rom-com leading lady. This is pretty much what happens in Love At First Sight, in which Richardson plays Hadley Sullivan, a perpetually late girl with a great sense of humor and some emotional baggage. Hadley is Portia if Portia had a witty side and wasn’t so focused on dressing to impress—Hadley, for example, sports old pajamas to the airport for her London-bound red-eye, whereas Portia would probably wear a terrible sweater vest and a jean skirt.
The biggest detractor here, though, is that Richardson has chosen a fairly mediocre rom-com as her breakthrough into the genre. (The word “breakthrough” is used here loosely, seeing as Richardson previously starred in the little-seen romantic drama Five Feet Apart.) Love At First Sight has a boring premise: Destiny pushes Hadley together with golden boy Oliver (Ben Hardy). They accidentally end up on the same flight and end up sitting next to each other, causing them to fall in love.
Hardy and Richardson have electric chemistry! The rom-com, unfortunately, doesn’t keep up with their youthful energy. Although they end up separated in London, fate (played awkwardly by Jameela Jamil) is the driving force behind their entire relationship. They lose each other’s phone numbers, or end up on opposite sides of the plane. Oh well, at least Jamil will show up as a bartender or a flight attendant, always arriving just in time to put them back on the right track.
The movie isn’t terrible, but Richardson (and Hardy, although Richardson is clearly the main character of this movie) deserves better than this lackluster adaptation of Jennifer E. Smith’s original novel, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. In fact, there’s another novel character Richardson is better fit to adapt.
Fans of Emily Henry’s hugely popular People We Meet on Vacation have started rallying for Richardson to play Poppy, a bubbly travel magazine writer who has a huge crush on her best guy friend. Poppy has short, curly hair—check. She is full of energy and ambition—check. Most endearingly, Poppy is always in a tizzy as she plans her next trip—check, thanks to both The White Lotus and Love At First Sight.
I see why all the People We Meet on Vacation readers have fancast Richardson. With a bunch of serene destinations and a delectable friends-to-lovers arc, People We Meet on Vacation would make a killer second rom-com for the actress. Plus, the film is already in development!
Really, it doesn’t have to be People We Meet on Vacation—Richardson belongs in any rom-com. Although unsatisfying as a story, she made Love At First Sight a delight. On her rom-com tropes bucket list, Richardson has already crossed off the meet cute and star-crossed lovers. What’s next? I’m rooting for friends-to-lovers.
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