Most rom-coms tend to do a pretty poor job of showing much of the reality of modern dating. But Love, Guaranteed, a new romantic comedy on Netflix, is a little different than the standard rom-com. Besides the fact that it’s unusually clean without being Hallmark Channel-level cheesy, this movie also shows a lot more of the reality of modern dating than many other films in the genre do.
The movie tells the story of Nick. He wants to sue an online dating site because the site guaranteed users will find love, and he didn’t find love. He even reads their fine print, which states the user must go on a thousand dates for this guarantee to be binding. As he nears his thousandth unsuccessful date, he employs a lawyer to sue the company.
The lawyer is this morally grounded and attractive woman named Susan. Who is also single. You know where this is going. However, as the story unfolds, three useful takeaways for Catholic singles become clear.
1. Epic online dating fails are common
One of the interesting (and highly relatable!) aspects of Love, Guaranteed is that it shows both of the main characters failing pretty spectacularly in their online dating efforts.
Susan has somehow never tried online dating at all. Her office staff members insist that she create a profile and try it, for research purposes. Susan is initially super dubious about Nick’s story of woe in online dating. She thinks he must be exaggerating about how poorly it went for him, or maybe that it’s his fault that so many dates failed. But when she tries online dating herself, she only finds matches with people who are extremely strange or who end up standing her up.
With these online dating experiences under her belt, she no longer has such trouble believing Nick’s stories about dates who ate paper, who brought their parents along, and who were obsessed with all things cats to an unhealthy level.
Does the movie exaggerate how many all-around bad dating options are out there? Possibly. But it certainly shows that any failures we might experience in online dating are not our fault and shouldn’t be that devastating with the proper perspective.
Online dating might not go so well some of the time. With that kind of mindset, you’ll be able to continue on your online dating journey with a healthy and realistic approach.
2. Honesty needs to be a top priority
The importance of honesty is continually underscored as Susan prepares for the lawsuit in the movie. Is Nick telling her the whole truth about his dating life? Is he trying to make a quick buck off a lawsuit over some fine print? As the trial begins to play out in court, Nick’s honesty is continually brought into question.
I won’t spoil the end of the movie for you. Though, let’s be honest, a rom-com can only end in so many way. However, I will tell you that the final happy ending comes about largely because Nick is a fundamentally honest person.
In the world of online dating, it can often be difficult to tell initially whether the person you’re dating is being fully honest. But making honesty a priority will pay off in the long run.
3. You can’t guarantee love
Despite the mild cheese level, this movie is right about not being able to guarantee love. None of us can really know how or when love will happen for us. If there were a formula we could use to find love, everyone would be using that formula. But there isn’t one.
Will doing everything correctly on an online dating site ensure that you find that special someone? No.
Will searching diligently for a person who is compatible with you guarantee that you find a perfect match? No.
None of Nick’s efforts in online dating yield him any direct fruit. Susan’s brief foray into the online dating world is even less fruitful. But in the long run, life circumstances bring them both together when they least expect it.
The movie doesn’t have a religious viewpoint at all, but as Catholics, we can definitely see that God is behind these unexpected matches in real life. We can (and should!) put in good efforts as we try to discern our vocations. But that doesn’t mean our love life will work out in the way we envision.
The quote from St. Augustine rings pretty true here: “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.”
So if you’ve experienced your fair share of online dating epic fails, don’t despair. Continue putting in the effort, and open yourself up to God doing something unexpected in your love life.
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