Looking for an entertaining twist on the classic romantic comedy format? The latest innovation from Netflix could be the perfect date night option. Choose Love represents an ambitious dive into interactive storytelling, putting viewers in the director’s chair through a choose-your-own-adventure style narrative.
Starring Laura Marano as a young woman faced with a romantic dilemma, the movie adapts traditional rom-com tropes into an innovative format that’s engaging, addictive, and full of surprise endings. Read on for a full review, exploration of the interactive elements, character breakdowns, behind-the-scenes details, and an FAQ guide to getting the most out of your viewing experience.
Overview: Pushing Rom-Coms Into the Interactive Age
Since pioneering the interactive film concept with titles like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Netflix has been exploring new formats to evolve storytelling past passive viewing. Choose Love brings this innovative approach to the popular rom-com genre, giving viewers control over the protagonist’s journey through key decision points that shape the narrative.
Directed by Stuart McDonald (A Perfect Pairing) and starring Laura Marano (The Perfect Date), the movie centers on a young woman named Cami struggling with a romantic dilemma. She must choose between three potential suitors: her caring long-term boyfriend Paul, her passionate ex Jack, and an enticing rock star named Rex who could launch her music career.
This engaging premise branches off into multiple story outcomes based on your choices for Cami. Will you have her focus on work, reconcile with an ex, or maintain her steady relationship? The story transforms based on your selections, prompting repeat viewings to uncover all the possible narratives.
Beyond tailoring the story, the interactivity also pulls viewers deeper into Cami’s relationships and decision-making process. Your choices feel impactful, with real stakes. And the genre conventions take on new life when you’re put in the protagonist's shoes. While the plot remains fairly predictable, the inventive format adds a layer of surprise and investment.
For audiences tiring of formulaic Hallmark-style rom-coms, Choose Love brings a playful innovation to liven up familiar tropes. The kinetic energy and bingeable branches will have you eagerly rewatching to reshape Cami’s journey. Let’s dive deeper into the movie’s interactive elements, characters, and production.
Decisions, Decisions: The Interactive Format
What truly sets Choose Love apart is its seamless integration of choice-driven interactivity. At various key moments, protagonist Cami turns to the camera and presents you with a decision to shape the direction of the story.
The interface is intuitive, with your options appearing as clickable choices on screen. The story seamlessly adapts based on your selections, with no lag or transitions. This real-time responsiveness helps with immersion in Cami’s world.
The first decision point comes just 5 minutes in, when you're asked whether Cami should vent to her sister or keep her dating worries private. This small early choice plants the seeds of your involvement.
Further key decisions range from serious to comical. You might advise Cami whether to accept her ex's invitation to lunch. Or choose whether she rudely ditches a conversation at a Hollywood party. The branching options vary from big picture relationship calls to fun situational reactions.
One creative element is that if you don’t actively make a choice, the story will select an option for you after a few seconds and continue. So indecision or distraction on your part leads to a randomized story path. This keeps the pacing tight and the narrative rolling.
The most significant choices come in the final act once Cami has her trio of suitors clearly in view. Here is where you directly select which romantic interest she will pursue, with the fallout shaped by your prior choices leading up to that point.
Based on your ending selection, you may get a conclusion scene, credits, or be prompted to revisit key choices to reshape Cami's journey. This gives the movie tremendous replay value, with your selections resulting in varied story outcomes.
Overall the interactive format is smoothly implemented, feeling dynamic rather than gimmicky. The choices land with real weight, transforming your perception of the characters. The branched storytelling adds a compelling dimension beyond a standard passive viewing experience.
Love Triangle: The Characters
While much of the film's appeal lies in its interactivity, the characters and performances are also crucial to making your choices meaningful. Let's look deeper at the trio of suitors vying for Cami's affections.
Laura Marano as Cami
In the lead role as Cami, Laura Marano (Lady Bird, The War with Grandpa) brings a winning blend of charm, humor, and sincerity to the indecisive protagonist. Conveying Cami's relatable relationship doubts, Marano's energy and expressiveness invite you deeply into her dilemma.
Her frequent fourth wall breaks also feel organic rather than gimmicky. Marano's direct address pulls the audience into Cami's inner turmoil, making your storyline choices feel impactful. Whether gracefully navigating a family party or tearing it up at a Hollywood rager, Marano endears as a protagonist you want to guide to a happy ending.
Scott Michael Foster as Paul
As longtime nice guy boyfriend Paul, Scott Michael Foster (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Greek) provides endearing supportiveness with an undercurrent of sensitivity. He respects Cami's drive for career success, while hoping she will settle down to start a family.
Foster portrays Paul's wounded yet understanding reactions to Cami's indecision with nuance, avoiding stereotypical “safe choice” boyfriend tropes. Their comfortable chemistry plants seeds of doubt around whether Cami should shake things up.
Avan Jogia as Rex
In the role of enticing rocker Rex, Avan Jogia (Zombieland: Double Tap, Ghost Wars) brings a seductive, rebellious charisma. His shredded leather jacket look exudes bad boy appeal, while he remains charming rather than arrogant.
Jogia smoothly depicts Rex as both alluring and respectful of Cami's career ambitions. Their flirtatious creative connection plants tempting ‘what if' questions around this potential pairing.
Jordi Webber as Jack
As Cami's passionate ex Jack, Jordi Webber (The Bay, Heartland) strikes a balance of down-to-earth warmth and unresolved longing. Their shared history establishes stakes, without falling into bitter ex tropes.
Subtle expressions convey Jack's desire for reconciliation, while showing patience and understanding around Cami's indecision. Webber brings likable sincerity to Jack's still-burning torch for Cami.
This talented lead cast inhabits the love triangle roles with depth beyond their outlines. The genuine character dynamics invite investment in each potential pairing path, giving your choices real meaning.
Behind the Scenes - Production and Release
The Choose Love project was developed by Netflix to expand their interactive film catalog into the popular rom-com genre. Building on previous choose-your-own-adventure titles like Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, Netflix aimed to bring that format's replayability to light-hearted relationship stories.
To craft the scenario and characters, Netflix tapped screenwriter Josann McGibbon. She fleshed out the love triangle premise drawing from classic rom-com conventions. The interactivity added layers of viewer empowerment and vicarious wish fulfillment.
Once the concept was approved, Netflix lined up director Stuart McDonald to helm the project. McDonald's experience with romance films like A Perfect Pairing made him a great fit to realize the blend of comedy antics and emotional storytelling.
For the crucial lead role of Cami, Netflix cast Laura Marano, known for rom-coms like The Perfect Date and the Disney Channel's Austin & Ally. Marano's versatility promised to make Cami's indecision relatable.
Rounding out the cast as the suitors were Scott Michael Foster (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend), Avan Jogia (Zombieland: Double Tap), and Jordi Webber (Heartland). The blend of rising stars promised strong romantic chemistry.
With the script polished and cast locked in, production commenced on location in Vancouver, Canada in late 2021. The interactive branching shoots required extensive planning and repeats to cover all choice permutations. McDonald's direction maintained comedic energy through the complex process.
In 2022 Netflix slated the title for an August 2023 premiere to build buzz over the summer. Member response will likely play a role in whether more interactive rom-coms get the green light.
So far Choose Love has earned somewhat mixed but generally positive reviews from critics. On review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, the movie holds a 63% Fresh rating.
Many reviewers praised the movie's fun, innovative twist on standard rom-com formulas. The interactivity was seen as adding an addictive and empowering element. Marano's performance as Cami earned raves for being both charming and relatable.
However, some felt the over-familiar love triangle plot limited the concept's full potential. A few found the branching narrative structure made the story feel disjointed. But most conceded the interactive element added replay value.
Here's a sampling of what top critics said:
"While the story remains wafer-thin, the ability to reshape key moments introduces a wickedly addictive meta-layer."- Peter Debruge, Variety
"Marano's winning performance holds together the playful 'choose your own path' antics." - Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly
"The tech gimmickry overwhelms the formulaic plot, but this quirky rom-com experiment offers breezy fun." - Johnny Oleksinski, New York Post
So while not universally acclaimed, Choose Love scores points for interactivity and breezy tone, making it worth a watch for rom-com fans. Netflix will likely continue refining the interactive movie format for wider audiences.
Choose Love Viewing Guide - FAQ
Ready to make your viewing choices for rom-com heroine Cami? Here are some tips and answers to frequently asked questions when watching Choose Love interactively:
How does the interactivity work?
At various points, Cami will turn to the camera and present you with a dialogue option or decision related to the unfolding story. Your selections will seamlessly branch the narrative without lag or transitions.
Can I pause or rewind during choices?
Yes, you can freely pause, rewind, or confirm your last choice. The story will wait on your input before advancing.
What if I don't choose in time?
If the timer runs out, a default option will be selected to keep the story moving forward.
Will my choices lead to every possible ending?
Not necessarily. Certain key early choices will unlock or close off potential story branches. Using the undo option to retry choices can help fully explore the narrative possibilities.
Can I skip choices or interactions?
No, the story will not advance without your input, to maintain interest and immersion.
How linear is the story structure?
While your choices branch the story extensively, the overall plot remains fairly linear in hitting key beats. Significant deviations based on choices mostly occur in the third act.
Will I have to repeat scenes and choices?
Yes, some repetition of scenes with variation will be required to navigate certain story branches. This is inherent to the format.
How much does the runtime vary?
Expect your first complete run through to take around 80-90 minutes. But unraveling all variations and endings could extend the experience to 2-3 hours.
How replayable is it?
The branching narrative makes Choose Love very replayable to reshape Cami’s key decisions and reach the various endings. While some repetition occurs, the variations keep subsequent viewings engaging.
So get ready to tap into your inner rom-com director! The interactivity of Choose Love lets audiences influence the story in inventive ways not possible in traditional linear films. Will you guide Cami to true love - and which suitor will you pick for her happy ending? The choice is yours!
Conclusion: An Interactive Rom-Com Experiment with Promise
Films that empower audiences to make story decisions have intriguing potential, but also face creative challenges. By bringing choose-your-own-adventure interactivity to the popular rom-com genre, Netflix's Choose Love makes a fun, if imperfect, foray into innovative viewing formats.
While the script relies heavily on familiar love triangle tropes, the interactive element adds replayability and investment to the generic storyline. Key choices around Cami's relationships prompt engagement, even when the plot hits familiar beats.
Lead actress Laura Marano succeeds in making Cami's indecision relatable, while inviting viewers into her dilemma through frequent fourth wall breaks. Her performance binds the diverging story branches together with charm and humor.
The seamless, real-time interface allows seamless story branching without lag or transitions. This polished implemention allows you to remain immersed in Cami's romantic high jinks and mishaps.
For viewers tired of static rom-com formulas, Choose Love adds welcome unpredictability. Your decisions shape Cami's world in substantial ways, from playful to dramatic. Exploring the various narrative paths encourages repeat viewings.
While lightweight in narrative complexity, Choose Love succeeds as a diverting experiment in interactive comedy. It opens up possibilities for empowering audiences to mold story outcomes to their wishes in refreshing ways. We may be far from a rom-com version of ambitious branching dramas like Bandersnatch, but Choose Love points to an engaging middle ground.
So gather your friends for a lively movie night where you control the romantic destiny of the characters. Choose Love shows how interactive films can breathe new possibility into worn genres when the tech and creative stars align. Let's hope Netflix continues to refine interactive storytelling, whatever the genre.
In an on-demand world, engaging viewers beyond passive observation is crucial. Allowing us to shape narratives introduces opportunities not possible in traditional screen entertainment. Choose Love makes an enjoyable case for letting the audience chart the course to a happy ending.