James Jay Edwards reviews 2 Hearts, a romantic drama film directed by Lance Hool and starring Jacob Elordi, based on true events. (Silver Lion Films)
Good love stories are hard to find. Finding two of them is even harder. So, that may be where 2 Hearts goes so wrong. Its goals are too lofty.
2 Hearts is about a pair of couples. Jorge (Designated Survivor’s Adan Canto) is a Cuban immigrant who falls madly in love with a flight attendant named Leslie (Radha Mitchell from Man on Fire). Popular kid Chris (The Kissing Booth’s Jacob Elordi) meets the girl of his dreams in Sam (Tiera Skovbye from Riverdale) while away at college. Both Jorge and Chris, however, have congenital medical conditions, and both have outlived their doctor-predicted lifelines. Now that both have found love, how much longer do they have?
(2 Hearts, theatrical release poster, Silver Lion Films)
Looking for something new to make, action movie producer Lance Hool (Missing in Action 2: The Beginning) found inspiration in a couple that his brother, Conrad (a producer on 2 Hearts), met on a cruise. They were the real-life Jorge and Leslie, he an heir to the Bacardi Rum fortune and she an ex-PanAm flight attendant. Conrad brought their love story to Lance, who saw its cinematic potential, but thought it needed a little sprucing up for the big screen. So, he brought in his daughter, Veronica (her first screenwriting credit), and playwright/screenwriting professor Robin U. Russin (On Deadly Ground) to make the plot more “theatrical.”
In doing so, they also may have stripped all of the emotion out of it. Both of the love stories in 2 Hearts are very by-the-book. The unspoken, underlying ticking time bomb of the men’s health is the only thing that injects any drama into the movie. And, even then, it’s dealt with in a way that just cleanses all of the tension out of the story. All that’s left is sappy dialogue, silly situations, and some corny plays for sentimental response which, frankly, don’t work. Or they mostly don’t work. There are tear-jerking moments, but they’re cheap ones. And the audience hates itself for falling for them.
(2 Hearts, Silver Lion Films)
The whole reason to keep watching 2 Hearts is the knowledge that somehow, someway, these two vastly different timelines are going to intersect and come together. The connection between the two couples is the most engaging part of the movie. And they do connect, although the way they come together is fairly predictable. The main idea is clear from the beginning, it’s the small details that work themselves out. And, while it provides closure, it’s not very satisfying.
The style and substance of 2 Hearts falls somewhere in between a Left Behind-esque religious flick and a Lifetime Network made-for-TV movie. There’s a glimmer of a compelling story there, but it gets washed out in sappy overtones. Even the wide-eyed, optimistic outlook that is so prevalent in Christian films misses the mark. The movie’s second biggest weakness, though, is how it tries to be emotionally manipulative. And its biggest is that it fails at it.