Netflix is back with a wholesome, feel-good rom-com set in an exotic city. This time we are doing a tour of the “City of Love”, Verona, in Italy. It’s not the first time the streaming service has offered a movie set in the country. Love & Gelato also took inspiration from the ancient city of Rome earlier this year. There’s just something about Italy that proves irresistible to people longing for love. Love in the Villa also runs into two similar people, Charlie and Julie, who are newly single and become sworn enemies when they find out they have rented the same villa. As their love-hate game grows, the two realize they have strong feelings for each other. Even before the film started, you could see the action from miles away.
Despite its lukewarm predictability, Love in the Villa benefits from tastefully crafted character arcs in the familiar setting and eventual wholesomeness that settles on you by the time you reach the ending. While the second half is a race against time for uneven scheduling, it’s a breezy watch for a quiet evening at home. This list brings you an offer of 7 movies like Love in the Villa that you must see if you loved it. Happy reading!
Vacation Buddies (2021)
This is the first movie that came to mind when reading the premise of Love in the Villa. Whatever people may say about it, Vacation Friends is a hugely entertaining and upbeat buddy comedy. Lil Rel and Jon Cena make an adorable on-screen couple, delivering some wild laughs and physical stunts we’d rather we didn’t see. Not only they, but also the leading actresses Meredith Hagner and Yvonne Orji join in when this double whammy of crazy couples in an explosive holiday spits fire. There’s not too much clever or weighty about his themes. But seeing friendship and, more importantly, a connection between two people through the eyes of purists like Ron (Cena) and Kyla (Hagner) really fills you with a feel-good aftermath.
Just like Love in the Villa, Vacation Friends begins and grows when a couple’s suit at a resort is ruined by another couple’s hot tub upstairs. The latter couple then invites the former to stay with them, changing a part of them forever. A dose of this wonderful film would do you just the thing if you are looking for a light yet touching watch.
Something Must Give (2003)
This classic lead from Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton is a joy to watch for many reasons. It certainly doesn’t reinvent the genre, but what really stands out is its strong pairing and bittersweet story. “Age is just a number” turns out to be a catchy and prophetic phrase for the scheme of things. Harry and Erica discover their love for each other a bit late in life when people are content to change their grandchildren’s diapers. A vacation home on the beach outside of town becomes the spark of their attraction and blossoms into a romance against all odds. The sheer number of Hollywood royalty on display certainly meant the producers left no stone unturned. But to do something meaningful you need good writing and actors who can translate that through emotion.
“Something’s Gotta Give” has plenty of that and like “Love in the Villa” brings some love in the villa literally to you. What’s more, the comic book elements in the film are so timeless that you can actually enjoy them now. Funny, charming and eminently not offensive, it’s considered the clean humor that so many modern films fail to conjure up.
Springs of Hope (2012)
A small coastal town in Maine becomes neutral ground, much like Switzerland, for a couple who don’t fight, but neither do they love. Their relationship has been frozen in time since their child left for college. To rekindle the spark, counseling at Hope Springs appears to be their last hope. “Can you rediscover love?” is probably not the exciting part of Hope Springs. It’s the “how” that really counts, and having such skilled, natural actors at the center helps director David Frankel shape his storytelling. The characters of Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones find themselves in a situation similar to that of Sam Hopper and Kat Graham. The only difference between the two couples is the emotional baggage and prior knowledge of each other.
A changed scene and Dr. Feldman’s (Steve Carell) competent guidance leads the pair tentatively to the inevitable conclusion. While Hope Springs certainly doesn’t qualify as an exotic setting or alien land, it’s quiet and peaceful enough to be compared to Verona, and also suits the seriousness of the story.
Love & Ice Cream (2022)
If you watched this rom-com on Netflix earlier this year, the setting of Love in the Villa will look pretty familiar. Love & Gelato is set in Rome but features similar characters and themes, albeit with minor changes. The two cities look equally majestic and beautiful and while Love & Gelato had more sightseeing for us, Love in the Villa makes a different choice. Lina and Lorenzo, the two protagonists in the former, are young, confident people on the verge of achieving their optimum happiness. Maybe you haven’t found the perfect partner yet? Rome seems like the perfect city to make this happen and give Lina the answers she is looking for about her mother’s youth and birth father. If Love & Gelato did indeed hit your screens without notice, you’d probably think it was some sort of Love in the Villa sequel.
Letters to Juliet (2010)
For fans of Amanda Fried, Letters to Juliet will be a very charming affair. The actress is at the center of the action and makes her presence felt as Sophie with a clever twist. It is not for nothing that the Romeo & Juliet fable is an integral part of the life philosophy of the main character in both films. Sophie and Julia’s perspectives on love and romance are only fulfilled in books and poetry and not really in real life. But all that changes when they end up with partners who can make them feel different than in previous relationships.
letters to Julia and love in the mansion both have love interests who initially can’t stand each other before seeing the other side of them, which is compassionate and disarming. Both also offer decent spots to lose yourself in, which also become catalysts for probing your love forward.
Vacation has a rather unconventional structure in which to play out the formulaic rom-com magic. It’s the story of two romantically unsuccessful people, Sloane and Jackson, who strike a bargain. After a chance encounter, they agree to go out on each other’s dates on family vacations (hence the title “vacation”) to put on a show for their wailing families. The catch is the fear of getting too serious and the mental block is difficult to overcome. This proves to be a stumbling block and the rest of the film navigates how they deal with their feelings.
Vacation and Love in the Villa are similar in that the protagonists are not together until the climax and that their exes like each other. The laughter and romance are too similar to look the other way. It definitely benefits from the charming idea of falling in love with a complete stranger and starting a new life.