Sounds Like Love review: A messy romcom about personal growth


Sounds Like Love is a mess of a romcom. There’s no other way to describe it. The romantic leads, Maca (María Valverde) and Leo (Álex González), aren’t really the kind you root for to get back together. Yes, this is a second chance romance, but it’s one that takes place in the years after Leo left Maca without a word.

It’s hard to come back from something like that in any story. Abandonment, especially when done as callously as Leo did it, is a mountain of an emotional obstacle to climb. It’s an issue that needs time to breathe which is not what Sounds Like Love gives these two characters. How could it when part of the movie is also spent on the love lives of Maca’s friends, Adriana (Susana Abaitua) and Jime (Elisabet Casanovas)?

This Spanish romantic comedy juggles four plots to varying degrees of success. There’s Maca’s obsession with Leo’s return and his relationship with her friend, Raquel (Eva Ugarte). Adriana’s loveless marriage to her husband, Julián (Roger Berruezo), and her unexpected feelings for their threesome partner, Julia (Claudia Galán).

Jime’s ridiculous quest to find the spirit of her deceased boyfriend, Santi, living in another man’s body. And Maca’s soul-sucking job working as the assistant and social media manager to the influencer, Pipa (Miri Pérez).

Sounds Like Love is a messy romcom with a side of personal growth

Interspersed through all of these plots are asides from Maca as she speaks directly to the viewer describing her feelings or how things would go if this were a romcom. Scenes sometimes shift, revealing they’re dream sequences or old memories from her past with Leo.

We’re clearly in her head for the majority of the film which means we’re getting solely her perspective on how every character interacts with her whether positively or negatively. That isn’t to say that Pipa isn’t as callous as she’s portrayed or that Leo’s betrayal wasn’t as bad as Maca made it out to be.

Rather, Maca’s own bias is displayed pretty clearly in Sounds Like Love. Pipa is a monster of a boss, there’s no getting around that. Leo, however, isn’t that great of a person either, but Maca and, by extension, the movie, makes excuses for him or bypasses the way he treats her.

Sure, she’s hurt for the first half of the film and angry enough to lead a coup in his classroom when he centers amor fou (obsessive passion i.e. the madness of love) as solely a woman’s issue. But by the time they’re back together, all of that softens though there’s no real reason for why they’ve reunited beyond the fact that Leo apologized and Maca still loves.

The excuse Maca gives for his abandonment of her, and this is her words not his, is that he was scared of commitment. She says it in a moment of growth in which she decides to choose herself instead of revolving all of her choices around Leo. It’s a great character beat for Maca, one that’s earned because the film does spend a lot of time on how she has put the needs of others before her own countless times.

Bit by bit Maca asserts herself throughout Sounds Like Love. The scenes in which she stands up for herself are triumphant as are the ending sequences of the movie. Maca accepts a better job, she puts herself first. Her friends also display their own growth having worked out what they want in their own lives.

All of that works in the movie. The idea that Maca and Leo should be together, however, does not and though the film works hard to sell the two there’s nothing compelling about them nor really anything to root for. They don’t work because there’s not much Leo has to do in Sounds Like Love to get Maca back or for her to still include him in her journey.

He seems like he’s just there for Maca to project on to the same way Jime projects the memory of Santi onto the men she dates until she learns not to do that. Or the way Adriana projects the family she’s supposed to want onto Julian until she accepts not only does she not want to be with him but that she wants to be with a woman.

Yes, Maca makes the choice Leo didn’t. She gives him the courtesy of telling him that she has a job offer in another country that she’s going to take. She even extends an invitation to him to come with her. There’s a maturity in the scene that Leo lacked all those years ago and, honestly, likely still lacks considering there’s no indication that he grew as a person in their years apart.

Sounds Like Love is at its best when it’s centered on moving past love that no longer fits the women in the movie which is why, the last snatches of the film are disappointing. While, it’s unclear if Leo’s appearance by Maca’s side is in her imagination or not, it’s clear that she’s still thinking about him and hoping for a reunion.

It doesn’t negate the growth she makes in the film, but it certainly puts a damper on it.

Sounds Like Love is available to stream now on Netflix.

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