Someone Like You review — Bible-thumping romantic sludge

Directed by Tyler Russell | Written by Russell and Karen Kingsbury | 126 min | ▲△△△△

Thanks to an article in the New York Times, I’ve learned Karen Kingsbury is the new Queen of Christian Fiction (American-styled), now taking her rapidly written bestsellers and turning them into TV series and feature films. This one’s directed by her son — that’s quite the family empire.

If this is the kind of entertainment people in the “faith-based” audience are seeking, their standards are a lot lower than mine. I can appreciate that movies function as exercises in a specialized kind of wish fulfillment — and that’s understandable even when they’re not made for me — but saccharine, manipulative bullshit like this is something else altogether.

Dawson Gage (Jake Allyn) is an architect living in a modernist glass box somewhere in the woods, with his own dock on a lake and a pair of his-and-her strangely silent jetskis. London Quinn (Sarah Fisher) is his best friend, who he tells us in a helpful opening voice-over he’s been in love with since high school. Both actors are made up and lit to look like dolls, and Fisher is stuck with a truly awful wig.

Dawson isn’t at peace with the way things are with London, not at all. He’s supportive of her, but he’s also passive aggressive about his faith that she clearly doesn’t share. The film’s pushiness around “the true path” continues through other characters, like a nurse treating London’s mother, Louise (Lynn Collins), who has kidney problems. You think that’s going to be important later on?

London is killed crossing the street, but finds Jesus in her final moments! Sad, but totally convenient for where the movie’s going. It turns out she was conceived through IVF, and another fertilized egg was given up! (A couple characters cast shade on that process, “made in the lab,” and “a property transfer.”) Dawson becomes obsessed with finding the possible secret sibling, and whaddaya know: Her name is Andi. She’s also played by Fisher,  sans awful wig, who is tight with her own super-rich good-looking white family, but she never knew about her origins. Never mind all that, because the big news is she’s God-fearing when London was doubtful! The obvious message is: Andi’s like London except better!

I’m sorry, you’re never going to convince me it’s not a little creepy that this dude had the hots for his best friend for a decade and then, once she dies, stalks her secret twin.

To call this material a soap is an insult to soaps. If dialogue like “You’re the best daughter,” sounds authentic to anyone, they’re living in another world. The picture was clearly made by professionals but the production still ends up looking like a J Crew ad. For a few minutes here and there we get a little tasteful human drama, largely thanks to the efforts of the actors, but the filmmakers’ approach is chronically heavy handed.

By the conclusion, which really takes its time coming, we’re all drowned in syrup — there’s no real conflict and, this will be no spoiler to anyone, Dawson and Andi find they’re attracted to each other. This though Andi is engaged to a fellow who, when he calls her phone, “My Love” comes up. I found myself throwing up in my mouth more than once.

The romantic platitudes aren’t the worst thing about Someone Like You, though, it’s the patronizing tone combined with the picture’s evangelical zeal. If this particular branch of Christianity wasn’t so eager to convert non-believers and use movies like this with their lack of realism, poor writing, or complete absence of any kind of political awareness, I might find some way to indulge the romantic nonsense.

Maybe God forgives, but this movie won’t get much mercy from this critic.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.