Love in the Villa review – star crossed lovers take their chance in Verona

By Louie Fecou
Published: September 1, 2022


A frothy but ultimately forgettable rom-com that hits every beat of the genre with relentless regularity. Ideal if you need to watch something that will take no effort to process and pass on a Sunday afternoon.

This review of the Netflix film Love in the Villa does not contain any major spoilers or significant plot points. 

Netflix film Love in the Villa, stars Laura Hopper, Tom Hopper, and Kat Graham, and follows Julie, fresh from her break up with Brandon, embarking on her dream visit to Verona, and having a chance encounter with a stranger that seems to be staying in her rented villa.

Light-hearted and gentle, this romantic comedy finds Julie single after 4 years. A planned romantic trip to Verona is off the cards, till Julie decides to go on her own. Cue a stressful flight, complete with chair kicking child, and Julie arrives to be picked up by a manic taxi driver. Undeterred, Julie makes her way to her accommodation, not what she expected, and finds the door to her villa is open, and a handsome stranger, Charlie Fletcher, is already booked in.

Julie asks him to leave, Charlie of course refuses, and the two start to try to figure out where the error has occurred.

The film places the viewer squarely in its sights, with an opening of Julie reading Romeo and Juliet to her class of pupils, and longing to visit Verona, to find Juliet’s balcony. Of course, the double booking is the main crux of the screenplay, and the whole production pretty much lives and dies on the chemistry of the two leads, and the undeniable beauty of the setting itself.

Let’s face it, it’s hard not to get Verona wrong in this kind of thing, but the sparring between the two often comes across as forced and often annoying. The humor, banter, and wordplay fall a little flat, Charlie puts his cards on the table very early announcing he is British and doesn’t do emotion as Julie has a breakdown realizing they are stuck together for the duration of her visit. However a compromise is reached and Julie heads out to try and follow her own holiday plans, with disastrous results.

A return to the villa sees Charlie offering relationship advice, and Julie becoming more interested in him. Charlie pretty much drinks wine for a living, and more banter ensues, however even at this early stage, it seems that the two are destined to get together. A development that is only a surprise to the two characters themselves. Sure, there are attempts to make these people dislike each other, but it is all just window dressing, and the annoyance of these characters, and their attempts to sabotage each other. never seems real.

Writer and Director Mark Steven Johnson plays things pretty safe. Everything unfolds as you would imagine, and Julie’s attempts to get Charlie to leave never seem believable. The pair are antagonistic for no real reason, except to give us a reason to keep watching, and the reality of the situation is that this pair of beautiful people would gravitate towards each other, not try to get rid of each other.

As things progress towards the third act, we see the reappearance of Julie’s ex Brandon, and Charlie’s on-off fiancé Cassie also turns up to mix things up. Will Brandon and Julie try to reconcile? Will Charlie and Cassie get back together? Will Brandon and Cassie hit it off, or will Julie and Charlie finally see the writing on the wall and become their very own Romeo and Juliet? Well, what do you think?

This is an inoffensive romantic comedy, only elevated by the Verona setting, that pretty much plays out in the way you would expect. However, if you enjoy these kinds of films then you will probably find yourself having a good time. To be honest, it feels a little insipid and low-key, with nothing much of note to comment on. It will pass a quiet evening and you will probably have forgotten it in the morning but in the final analysis “that which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet”.

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