It's not a bad film. It's definitely watchable and I did get a little teary towards the end, so I wouldn't call it soul-less either. It just doesn't have enough soul and it doesn't have enough originality.
In fact, I've recently come up with a category of films that this would totally fit into. It's called "scripts that could have been written by an AI". A successful AI mind you - one that has been fed every produced script on the same topic, but also one that cannot produce anything genre-defying or ground-breaking.
So here's the recipe it operates on:
- Take the "Love Story" (the 1970 film) premise (as used by a million other films between then and now).
- Add a specific take and tension to the story, as previously done by films like "My Life Without Me" (2003)
- Create good chemistry between two stereotypical protagonists (the "loveable and deceptively sexy nerd" male and the "strong, funny, and beautiful" female)
- Add the sidekicks: the "mischievous, promiscuous, but supportive best mate", the "(much older, quirky, and wisecracking) unlikely friend", the "overbearing but still loving" mother, plus a couple more distinct-enough-but-not-too-memorable-so-as-not-to-overshadow-the-protagonists characters.
- Make the photography and styling Instagrammable
- Add a pleasant soundtrack
- Cast a veteran actor in the old-but-quirky role
- Cast a hunk recognisable from an extremely popular TV series to attract the fandom
- Lightly sprinkle on top with quotable wisdoms about the meaning of life and death
And there you have it. Served lukewarm on Netflix.