All of the things that made this unique and original at the start of the book ultimately became the things that drove me crazy as the story went on. I loved the use of movie references until they became excessive, I loved the focus on the hero until his skewed perspective overtook the story, I loved the multiple timelines until the plot was so broken up that it caused me to disconnect from the characters… I loved the book until I didn’t.
Essentially, the story follows Nick, a cinema buff who compares everything in his life to the movies that have shaped him. Things are going pretty well for him until everything starts to unravel all at once, which forces him to look back on his relationship with a more critical eye. Swapping between past and present, we see the beginning and the end of his relationship while trying to piece together where it all went wrong.
I think there’s so much potential hidden within this story, but the execution just wasn’t there. If you’re not a movie lover, all of the references will pull you out of the story – I understood the majority of them but there were just SO MANY that what started as charming and quirky ended up feeling obnoxious. The multiple timelines are really what drags the book down though – we’re not immersed in any one timeline long enough to feel emotionally connected. Every time I was getting into a scene, it abruptly swapped to the other timeline and I had to mentally reset. It really could’ve been done in a much more effective way. And finally – the characters. Those timelines don’t do any favors for connecting to either Nick or Ellie. He is not at all your typical hero, so connecting to him is essential and that just didn’t happen. It’s also important to note that while this is billed as a romantic comedy of sorts, it is absolutely NOT. I did love the message this portrays towards the end, but romance lovers are likely to feel unsatisfied with how the book resolves itself. I appreciated receiving an ARC via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review, but I can’t give this a wholehearted recommendation.
A film-obsessed romantic rewrites the script to understand why his “picture-perfect” love story crashed and burned in this wonderfully clever debut.
Ellie had the quizzical eyebrows of Broadcast News-era Holly Hunter and the neon-red hair of Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. At least, that’s what caught Nick’s attention when he met her on the night of 2008’s historic election. A cinema devotee and lover of great love stories, Nick always fancied himself the Tom Hanks of his own romantic comedy, and when sparks flew with Ellie that night, he swiftly cast her as the Meg Ryan of his story. For four blissful years, Nick loved Ellie as much as he loved his job as a film projectionist: wholly, earnestly, cinematically.
But now Ellie has moved out, convinced “the fire’s gone,” and Nick is forced to sift through his memories to figure out where it all went wrong. The fallout from Ellie’s declaration that she “doesn’t love Nick the way she used to” throws him back into recollections of their first night together. Their shared jokes, her wry smile, the “hope” that filled the night air–his memories are as rose-colored as the Hollywood love stories he idealizes.
That night was a perfect meet-cute, yes, but was their romance as destined for a “happily ever after” as he’d thought? Is he really the rom-com hero he believes he’s been? Or did this Harry let his Sally down? Peppered with references to beloved movies, Love, Unscripted explores how even a hopeless romantic can learn that in real life, love isn’t, and shouldn’t be, like what we see in the movies.