‘Love, Divided’ Review: A Trope-y Yet Charming Romance From Spain


Netflix’s romance roster is a bit of a mixed bag of mostly misses, some old gems, and some rather naughty films that are the opposite of the soft girl diet. Call me a gourmand for romance films, because despite how cringe-worthy, tacky, cheesy, or unreasonable a romance film is, I’m still going to waste my time watching it. I suppose it’s a world of escape and dreams for most of us, which is why they were so popular at some point until they weren’t. The rom-com is always an aspirational film. It was never about two hot people getting together and doing the dirty. It’s always been and should be about awkward feelings and hormones that make you do unimaginable things for the sake of another person. If you look at some of the best rom-coms, there’s always one lead that is somewhat of an oddball, never mind the fact that they’re played by some of the hottest stars, but it’s about shocking the world with this duo that otherwise would never make it. I think, at the moment, the climate of romance has drastically changed. What can I say? I feel like it’s more about the sex than the meet-cute. And if it is about the meet-cute, there’s no real character development or growing feelings. 

So, why do we keep going back to the old films rather than looking forward to all the new stuff Netflix throws at us every couple of weeks? I suppose it’s because the heart of the matter is completely distorted. It’s like a machine is spitting out these stories that are lackluster and downright boring in both storytelling and chemistry. Netflix’s original Love, Divided has me stuck with mixed feelings. Though it caters to the “soft girl in a dreamy night” scenario, it also manages to be an amalgamation of rom-com tropes that guaranteed success in old films. However, what the makers of this film forgot is that it’s not just the tropes that work but the things that surround them, too. Based on the French film “Blind Date” (both titles are quite perfect for the plot), Love, Divided tells the story of Valentina, an aspiring musician, who moves into a new house only to learn that she shares a hollow wall with a neighbor who isn’t quite keen on having anyone on the other side. 

What ensues is an adorable friendship through a wall, blind yet wholesome. Is it easier to talk to someone when you don’t know what they look like? How does it feel to get to know someone first before putting a face to them? These are some of the relevant questions Love, Divided asks before it goes down a rabbit hole of misunderstandings and predictable mess. The first part of this film really got me excited. We get to know both the characters well, their aspirations and their little quirks, which make you feel like you’re a part of the story somehow; however, as it progressed, I started to feel like I was pulling out of the film one limb at a time, like stepping out of a painting that’s ultimately left half finished. Nah, don’t get me wrong; at the end of the day, it’s a sweet film with a lot of charm and cuteness, but I couldn’t help but feel something was missing. 

The film stars Aitana, a popular Spanish singer who honestly has the perfect girl next door look for a film like this. They do a good job using her mesmerizing voice, and I can imagine the song in the film is an original by her. Can we talk about her perfectly shiny hair—never something strange or out of place? You know it’s going to be a good romance if the female lead has perfect bangs, no? And boy, oh boy, will she make you want to get them yourself (psstt, it’s a lot of work; don’t do it impulsively!). However, in the climax of the film, she’s got two curls at the front that completely confused me—a genuinely strange hairstyle, in my opinion. Starring opposite her is Fernando Guallar, who plays a nerdy game-making geek who hasn’t left his house in three years. Classic anti-social vs. life-of-the-party vibes. The two have great chemistry. Though, for the most part, it’s through a wall; you can feel the charm and cuteness. In your typical enemies-to-lovers way, the two find themselves in a situation where they genuinely like each other’s company, though it’s through a wall. 

The film opens with a montage of artwork that looks like a combination of the 2D art covers of all the romance novels released today. The film is colorful and makes you feel like you’re in one of those novels, and I don’t absolutely hate that. In fact, it’s a little bit refreshing in today’s climate of dark and moody films, and it’s almost like dopamine dressing for the background. Additionally, as the title suggests, there’s a divide between the two people not only because of the wall but in their personalities too. On the surface, they’re completely different from each other, and it adds a nice flair to the romance. 

There’s a naivety in Valentina, which had me feeling she was definitely written by a man. I think this is the bit that irked me the most and maybe took me out of the otherwise cute film. I know it’s normal for women to make stupid choices in the rom-com genre, but they’re somewhat calculated, and there’s nothing naive about the characters as such. Still, the singer-turned-actress plays it off with her charm, and I’ll give the film props for trying to be old-school. I think the most important part of a rom-com is the female lead and how she’s the most relatable part of these films. Valentina is a mix of a genuine woman and a male fantasy, which is why she doesn’t work perfectly. 

At the end of the day, I’m a sucker for all things cute, and this film delivers in that aspect. Extra points for the cat. So if you’re interested in breaking the language barrier and giving this Spanish film a go, I’d say go ahead. I suppose the romance genre is saturated by films like this one, but it’s still better than a lot of things out there today. I’d give Love, Divided 2.5 out of 5 stars for a good attempt. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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