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"2 HEARTS"
(2020) (Jacob Elordi, Adan Canto) (PG-13)


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QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Two couples from different decades end up having their lives intersect in a way they couldn't imagine.
PLOT:

Having survived longer than expected with his lung disease, Jorge Bolivar (ADAN CANTO), is now a thirty-year-old man running the Puerto Rican division of his father's lucrative rum business. While traveling, he ends up meeting flight attendant Leslie Folk (RADHA MITCHELL) and then makes a point of doing so over and over again until they end up as a romantic couple and eventually marry. But despite their level of wealth, they must contend with his ever-worsening health.

Decades later, Chris Gregory (JACOB ELORDI) leaves his parents -- Eric (TAHMOH PENIKETT) and Grace (KARI MATCHETT) -- back home when he joins his older brother, Colin (JORDAN BURCHETT), at Loyola University as an incoming freshman. Luckily for him, he didn't end up joining their older brother, John (ANTHONY KONECHNY), at his school, as then Chris never would meet senior Sam (TIERA SKOVBYE) with whom he's instantly smitten. The two eventually become a romantic couple and see a bright future ahead together.

But little do they or Jorge and Leslie realize their lives are going to intersect in a way none of them could imagine.

OUR TAKE: 4.5 out of 10

Most people -- meaning movie reviewers and regular viewers -- try to avoid spoilers as they want to experience something for the first time, untainted by any prior knowledge of what's going to unfold and happen in the movie they're about to see. But I know some people -- my wife one for, and a good friend and fellow critic for another -- who don't care about spoilers.

For my wife, she wants to know if it's her sort of movie, if it's good, and if I think she's going to like it. For my fellow critic, she's focused on the artistry rather than story surprises and believes a movie should be able to entertain and engage just as well on the second, tenth, or fiftieth time as the first.

I generally try to avoid spoilers -- be they in the form of other reviews, social media comments, or trailers that give away too much of the plot -- but I agree that good movies should be able to withstand (and maybe even get better in one's opinion) with repeat viewings.

That said, I've seen enough movies and written enough screenplays that it's hard to surprise me anymore, with it usually being fairly easy to see where things are headed before they show up on the screen. At least that usually takes a while into a flick, but that's not the case with "2 Hearts," and I wasn't remotely familiar with the true-life tale on which the film is based.

No, thanks to some on the nose voice-over narration by one of the lead characters, Chris Gregory (Jacob Elordi), who we see being wheeled unconscious into an ER, and then the constant switching back and forth between his story and that of Jorge Bolivar (Adan Canto) -- who's first seen collapsing on the soccer field, followed by surgery and then the doctor telling his parents that his deteriorating lung condition means his time on Earth likely isn't long -- it's also not long before most viewers will know or guess exactly where things are headed.

Of course, as "they" like to say, it's the journey and not the destination that's important, so after those two hospital scenes -- removed from each other by decades -- wrap up, we get into the meat of the story. Jorge runs the Puerto Rican division of his father's lucrative rum business and is so instantly smitten by the sight of a flight attendant ("stewardess" back in those days of Pan Am) that he charmingly stalks Leslie (Radha Mitchell) until she ends up just as head over heels with him as he is of her.

Back in the present, Chris has just gotten word that he didn't get into the college he wanted with his older brother (Anthony Konechny) -- thus disappointing the teen and his parents (Tahmoh Penikett and Kari Matchett) -- and thus must take his second choice that just so happens to be where his other brother (Jordan Burchette) is enrolled. As luck/the fates/predetermination would have it, that's a good thing as that allows him to literally bump into a senior (Tiera Skovbye) and -- like the man he's never met from decades earlier -- know instantly this is the woman for him.

As directed by Lance Hool from a script by Veronica Hool and Robin U. Russin, the story then keeps jumping back and forth as their respective tales of romance unfold and ultimately collide in an unexpected (at least to all of them) way. I'd be lying if I said the flick didn't emotionally affect me as it did -- fully identifying the manipulative material designed for just that -- although it took a while to finally get there.

That said, it's clunky at spots and some of the acting occasionally feels a bit rough and not as authentic as it should be at particular moments. And yes, it's as predictable as they come. But if you like so-called "disease of the week" films that often play on cable TV channels or Nicolas Sparks doomed romance style offerings, you'll probably eat this one up. "2 Hearts" rates as a 4.5 out of 10.




Reviewed October 13, 2020 / Posted October 16, 2020


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