Love in the Villa is Netflix’s new No.2 movie — but should you stream it?

Love in the Villa Netflix
(Image credit: Netflix)

There’s a drought of new releases in movie theatres right now, but that doesn’t mean that Netflix is slowing down its pipeline of fresh original movies. And the streamer just got a new romantic comedy that is making serious waves. 

The flick in question is called Love in the Villa and after hitting Netflix last week (Friday, September 1) it’s already rocketed straight to the upper ranks of the streaming service’s most watched list. In fact, it even held the No.1 spot over Labor Day. However, it’s now moved down a place after comedy film Me Time reclaimed the top spot. 

What is Love in the Villa about?  

Love in the Villa follows hopeless romantic Julie (Kat Graham), an elementary school teacher obsessed with Romeo and Juliet. To mark her four year anniversary with her boyfriend Brandon (Raymond Ablack) she plans the trip of a lifetime to Verona (the setting for Shakespeare's tragedy), but when Julie suddenly finds herself single she decides to embark on the vacation solo. 

Things get even worse once she arrives in Italy and finds out the beautiful villa she reserved was actually double-booked. Julie is forced to share the romantic destination with a cynical wine importer named Charlie (Tom Hopper), who ventures to Verona every year to source suppliers for an annual wine festival. 

As you can probably guess, Julie and Charlie start off very much at odds. The forced together duo squabble over space within the villa and play (mostly) harmless pranks on each other. However, they soon discover some common ground, and even a few romantic sparks fly between the pair.

It’s fair to share that Love in the Villa doesn’t present the most original tale. Rom-com fans should be able to predict how this one plays out.  

What do critics say about Love in the Villa?  

As with many Netflix original movies, Love in the Villa has debuted to pretty underwhelmed reviews. The film currently scores 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, and its audience score is even worse at a thoroughly miserable 38% — in fact, one member of the Tom’s Guide staff even branded it “terrible.”

Noel Murray of the Los Angeles Times compared the film to a Hallmark Channel movie, which is definitely not a flattering comparison. They also declared, “too much of “Love on the Villa” is off-the-rack rom-com business.”

The Guardian’s Adrian Horton was similarly unimpressed, saying: “Literally and figuratively, Love in the Villa captures a tourist gift shop – a thing to peruse, maybe enjoy (ironically or earnestly, often both) and then move on.”

But there have been some slightly more positive verdicts as well. Case in point, Courtney Howard of Variety argued the film is “a breezy, pleasing love story about star-crossed travelers that transcends Netflix’s romantic recipes.”

Should you stream Love in the Villa?  

It would be pretty hard to make the case that Love in the Villa is a must-watch Netflix original movie. Even if you’re a fan of cheesy rom-coms, the streamer’s latest effort appears to be pretty derivative and fails to do anything new in a very worn-out genre. If you’re looking for something truly original, then you should give Love in the Villa a wide berth. 

However, if you have a high tolerance for schmaltzy melodrama and don’t mind that Love in the Villa brings nothing new to the table, then you might be able to justify a viewing. But it’s unlikely that this is a movie you’ll still be thinking about long after the credits roll. Love in the Villa is probably best enjoyed on a quiet evening when you have little else worthwhile to be doing.  

Rory Mellon
Entertainment Editor (UK)

Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.