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April 2, 2024 / Fantom

Starring: Sarah Fisher, Jake Allyn, Robin Lively, Bart Johnson, Scott Reeves, Lynn Collins

Directed By: Tyler Russell

Based on the popular novel by #1 New York Times Bestselling author Karen Kingsbury, Someone Like You is an achingly beautiful redemptive love story for our times.

Written By Darren Zakus

Rating 3 out of 5

Someone Like You has everything you expect that a sappy romance film would with a dash of religion, that though it doesn’t not redefine the story mold that it nicely fits into, is elevated by a good and dedicated cast.

For some movies, the poster tells you everything you need to know about it, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Featuring Jake Allyn and Sarah Fisher locked in embrace and about to kiss and the natural beauty of the small town setting of the film on the poster, you know exactly what you are about to get from the film. And Someone Like You delivers the sentimental small town romance that you expect, mixing in family drama and faith to create a spiritual story about love, second chances and family. The filmmaking team knows exactly what this film needs to be and what audiences will want of it, and it delivers exactly that and nothing more, making for an enjoyable romance.

While marketed as a love story, and there is an element of romance to the film, there is a lot more being explored in Someone Like You. First and foremost, the film is a family based drama as a young woman grapples with the truth of another family she had but never knew existed. Betrayal, love between parents and children, finding one’s self, and redemption is the focus of this film, which adapts Karen Kingsbury best selling novel, who also self-funded the film and co-wrote its screenplay alongside director Tyler Russell. It is also a faith based film, and the characters’ Christian faith is woven nicely into the different plot threads of the film. The overall experience of the film is sentimental, hopeful and uplifting, which will speak directly to the film’s target audience and no doubt be what they are looking for, even though there are no true surprises within the story itself.

From a more critical point of view, the love story between Dawson and Andi feels rushed in the film’s final act despite the beautiful romantic chemistry between Allyn and Fisher. The screenplay does a great job of developing Andi and Dawson’s individual arcs over the course of the film, but with not much time shared between them on screen in a romantic setting, their romantic ending does not feel fully earned despite you wanting both characters to find their own happy ending after all the sorrow they have endured. I have no doubt that this romantic subplot is better explored in the novel and though it is not detrimental to the film overall, it definitely holds the film back from being a great romance, leaving it as merely fine but not a memorable watch.

What allows the film to succeed is its cast as it features a good ensemble of performances, with each and every actor in this film being a great match for their role. Fisher is wonderful in the dual role of London Quinn / Andi Allen, capturing the two young women at the heart of this film’s story with a warm, bubbly yet intuitive performance. Not only does she help set up the heartbreak of the story after her fun performance as London, she capably navigates the film through it’s complex emotions and situations as Andi, ensuring that every emotional high and low hits exactly as Kingsbury would want it to. Allyn is no doubt easy on the eyes, but he’s so much more as he captures the sweet hearted, down to earth small town man that is Dawson. It feels effortless as Allyn lights up the screen with his smile, while also bearing his character’s broken heart as he mourns the loss of his best friend and finds an unexpected new love to fill that void, perfectly embodying the leading man that this film requires. Lynn Collins is very good as London’s mother Louise, acting as a steadfast anchor to the film’s story as she guides Dawson and Andi through their challenges, despite the broken heart her character is trying to nurse. And while they have a small amount of screen time, real life husband and wife Bart Johnson and Robyn Lively are absolutely delightful as Andi’s parents. Their real life relationship brings their characters’ marriage to life, adding a deep sense of trust and love for each other to their characters without having to speak a word, while at the same time they embody the emotional uncertainty and heartache their characters are feeling for Andi over the course of the film.

Even if you know the ending that a film has in store for you, that doesn’t mean that the journey to get there can’t be entertaining. And while there is no doubt in your mind that Andi and Dawson won’t end up together by the end of Someone Like You, it’s the emotional story about healing, love and second chances that makes the film a wholesome experience. With a talented cast led by the wonderful pairing of Jake Allyn and Sarah Fisher, Someone Like You provides a delightful faith based story that hits all the right notes despite trying to tackle too much during its run time.

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