NewsHulu’s Cute New Rom-Com Is Honestly Baffling

Hulu’s Cute New Rom-Com Is Honestly Baffling

Movies

The Greatest Problem With The Greatest Hits

The rom-com makes a fundamental mistake with its use of time travel.

Lucy Boynton and David Corenswet embracing each other.

Merie Weismiller Wallace/Searchlight Pictures

If The Greatest Hits is any indication, I guess they just don’t make time-travel movies like they used to. The new romance flick, which hits Hulu today, caught the eyes of some on X (Twitter) recently, but not because its premise had people shivering in anticipation. Instead, the movie—which stars Lucy Boynton as Harriet, a would-be music producer who, after the death of her boyfriend, manifests the ability to travel back in time to key points in their relationship when she hears certain songs—worried fans who saw the promotional materials as reminiscent of High Fidelity. Not the homonymous John Cusack movie, but Hulu’s 2020 series adaptation, which the streamer prematurely canceled after only one season. Having seen the movie, I can report that The Greatest Hits bears scant resemblance to High Fidelity, but maybe that’s where it falters. Instead of exploring the worthy themes of that series—the highs and lows of dating in the modern era; how dating is complicated when you realize that you are the asshole in all of your relationships—it instead tackles something entirely different: grief … through time travel.

In order to properly air out my gripe with this otherwise enjoyable-enough movie, I have to spoil the ending. So, Harriet develops the ability to time travel after she sustains a head injury in the same car accident that kills her boyfriend, Max (David Corenswet). When she hears those trigger songs I mentioned, she’s literally flung back to that moment, so she wears noise-canceling headphones all the time to avoid corporeally glitching in public. In turn, she plays specific songs when she wants to relive the past, particularly in the hopes that she can save her boyfriend by convincing him to make a different turn or pull the car over before the accident. After two years of this, still unable to save her boyfriend, and still very much in the wakes-up-on-the-couch-next-to-an-open-bottle-of-Jameson stage of Movie Grief™, Harriet connects with David (Justin H. Min) after meeting him in a grief support group. Though I’m pretty sure the cardinal rule is you’re not supposed to date anyone you meet in therapy, Min is serving such adorable puppy-dog energy that I won’t argue. But it’s no surprise that Harriet’s habit of quite literally reminiscing with her dead boyfriend sorta mucks up her budding relationship with her alive one.

What I will argue with, however, is how it all resolves. Making the choice to move on and be happy would have been the normal and correct ending to a plot like this—“You need to stop living in the past,” etc., etc.  But Harriet does not choose to give up her fight to save Max, and therefore solve her time traveling problem.

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