May 15, 2023
Yes, I’m that kind of book lover. The one who sees a movie trailer and then looks to see if it’s based on a book. The one who reads the book just so I can compare it with the movie. That is exactly what I did with the newly released movie Love Again, which is based on the novel Text for You.
So which is better? Let’s get into it.
*Note: there will be spoilers, so read at your own discretion
The Book: Text for You by Sofie Cramer
Text for You is a 2009 translation of the German novel SMS für Dich. Clara argues with her fiancé, and he storms out. Tragically, he dies before they can reconcile. Two years later, and still consumed with grief, she begins texting his phone number, trying to come to terms with how everything ended. Unbeknownst to her, the phone number has been reassigned to Sven, a journalist who lives a few towns away. At first, Sven ignores the texts, but as he learns more about Clara though her messages, the more he feels like he is falling for a complete stranger and starts trying to figure out who she is.
To be completely honest, I felt underwhelmed by this book. I love a good romance, but I would hardly call this a romance. Clara and Sven didn’t meet until over halfway through the book, and the main struggle (him admitting that he’d essentially been stalking her) was dealt with so quickly that the HEA (“happily ever after” for those not in the know) didn’t feel earned. Add in some odd technology language—which could be the result of a book from 2009 or being a German translation (or both)—and it makes for (in my opinion) a skippable title.
All that to say…I thought it could be adapted into a much better story for the screen.
The Movie: Love Again
Love Again opened in theatres this month, and it stars Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan, and *audible gasp* Celine Dion! The story is very similar to the book, but they made a few specific changes that greatly improved the experience. In this version, Mira is in a happy relationship with a seemingly perfect guy when he is killed by a drunk driver as she watches. She also comes to find out that he had been planning to propose. This all heightened my emotional involvement and helped me buy into her story. Rob, on the other hand, comes across much less cringy than his German counterpart, learning who Mira is without coming off so stalker-ish.
Honestly, the thing that really sold this movie for me was Celine Dion (in her first movie role)! She plays a fictionalized version of herself, and she felt like the rock of the film while sharing parts of her personal story—which may be fictionalized but rang true to me. Also notable is that this is an example of a pandemic movie. From what I have read, the cast were quarantined for filming, and Celine was quarantined in a different country, so she was green-screened into her scenes!
I would recommend seeing Love Again. Is it the best rom-com? No. But it has heart, and humor, and, most importantly, Celine Dion!
Whether you loved or hated Text for You and Love Again, there is always so much more romance to experience! You can find many romance recommendations on the Library’s website or attend MCPL’s upcoming Romance GenreCon in August (registration now open)!
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