Based on a novel by Elísabet Benavent, and dropping onto Netflix today is the Spanish romantic comedy, Sounds Like Love (aka Fuimos Canciones). Directed by Juana Macías, and starring María Valverde, Elisabet Casanovas, Susana Abaitua, and Álex González, the movie follows the story of Maca – a 29-year-old woman, navigating her way through life, love, and an unfulfilling job as a personal assistant.
In the movie, Maca spends her days working as a PA to Pippa – a self-centred influencer, who treats Maca badly and pays her worse. Maca puts up with Pippa’s demands, because a.) it’s a job, and b.) she is at an impasse in her life, and doesn’t know what else to do.
But Pippa is only one of Maca’s problems; the other problem takes the shape of Leo, an ex-boyfriend who Maca can’t get out of her head. In her own words, when she split from Leo, he left her with “romantic PTSD”, and visions of their relationship still haunt her.
As one of her coping mechanisms, Maca has a casual relationship with another guy, in the hope that ‘no-strings attached fun’ will block Leo out of her mind. It doesn’t work, and only seems to strengthen the idea that Leo was ‘the one’, leading to more heartache.
Things then go from bad to worse when Maca encounters Leo, and he seems very blasé about their five-year relationship. Angered by his attitude, she sets out to cause him emotional pain, by bad-mouthing him to his current girlfriend.
What follows is a continuous back and forth between the pair as they find ways to emotionally hurt each other. But over time, Maca and Leo begin to reconnect, leading Maca to question if Leo really is the right person for her?
Sounds Like Love is a fun, well-written movie, with good performances, a great soundtrack, and an enjoyable tone. At times it is light and breezy, yet it contains plenty of substance, making it a far more interesting movie than many of its stablemates in the rom-com genre.
It won’t have you falling off the sofa in fits of giggles, as the humour is downplayed and comes mostly from its approach to storytelling, but it is the sort of movie that will have you smiling. There is plenty of romance in the story – some good, some not so good – and all is worthy of inclusion, in order to tell a captivating tale.
Sounds Like Love is told largely from the perspective of Maca, who details her romantic dilemmas throughout the course of the movie. In order to do this, she regularly breaks the fourth wall to speak directly to the audience, and allows her daydreams to provide an insight into her thoughts and feelings.
Maca is a relatable character, not a million miles away from Bridget Jones, and is instantly likeable. She is someone who is simply trying to understand the complexities of love, and this movie shows how she handles things – sometimes rather badly.
Joining Maca on her journey are her two best friends, Jimena and Adriana. Like Maca, these two characters have their own problems in the romance department, with their issues played out as side stories.
For Adriana, this leads to a focus on intimacy and sexual exploration. For Jimena, the movie serves up a quirky tale about searching for romance while trying to connect with the spirit of a deceased boyfriend.
All of these stories are equally interesting to watch and by the end of the movie I felt like I had gone on a journey with all three characters. Sure, Maca gets the lion’s share of the screen time, but each character brings something important to the story, and each experiences significant change by the end of the movie.
As the film drew to a close, I was happy to see growth for Maca, Jimena, and Adriana, yet sad to wave them goodbye. Such is the strength of the writing and the performances, they felt like old friends I was having to let go.
I’m not a huge fan of rom-coms, and with a few exceptions I can take them or leave them; however, I found much to like with Sounds Like Love. The film has a solid story, brought to the screen by a director who cares about the characters, and by a cast who clearly had fun making the movie.
If you are after belly laughs or a frothy boy-meets-girl story, you won’t find it here. But if you want something with a little more bite, while still retaining a playful edge, then be sure to take a look.