‘2 Hearts’ rings as heartwarming but cliched

Heartthob Jacob Eldori (‘The Kissing Booth’) stars alongside Tiera Skovbye (‘Riverdale’) in ‘2 Hearts.’ The romantic drama is based on a true story. // Photo courtesy of Silver Lion Productions

Our Take: 2/5 Stars

Director Lance Hool’s “2 Hearts,” based on a true story of four people from different times and places whose lives intertwine unexpectedly, makes for an entertaining two hours that don’t quite deliver emotionally.

Starring Jacob Elordi (“The Kissing Booth”), Tiera Skovbye (“Riverdale”), Adan Canto (“Designated Survivor”) and Radha Mitchell (“Finding Neverland”), “2 Hearts” tells the story of Elordi’s Chris Gregory, a lovable but naive teenager, as he enters his freshman year of college.

Within his first month at school, Chris meets and falls deeply in love with Sam, played by Skovbye. The first half of their story centers on the blossoming romance between the two as Sam encourages Chris to get his license and improve his grades and they begin to build a life together.

Many years earlier, a teenaged Jorge, portrayed by Canto, undergoes surgery for a pulmonary condition that is expected to end his life before he reaches the age of 20. Defying his doctor’s prognosis, Jorge lives to take up a position in the lucrative family business and to meet a charming flight attendant named Leslie, played by Mitchell.

Much like Chris, Jorge knows as soon as he meets Leslie that she is the love of his life, and a whirlwind romance ensues. But Jorge’s illness is a daily reminder that he does not have any time to waste.

Based on the true story of a very real Jorge and Chris, the lives of the middle-class American and the Cuban businessman cross under unforeseeable and devastating circumstances. When a tragedy brings the two families together, all of their lives are changed forever.

Despite its inspirational plot, “2 Hearts” comes up short by making use of cliched plot devices and cinematic elements — a gurney shuttling down the hallways of a hospital, a lifetime of memories fading away Harry Potter-style — that have been seen too many times. The message the film aims to deliver is somewhat cheapened by its sugary sentimentalism.

Nevertheless, the film is salvaged by a compelling performance by Elordi, who made a name for himself in roles in Netflix’s “The Kissing Booth” and Hulu’s “Euphoria.” The Australian heartthrob is reliably charming in “2 Hearts,” bringing humor and vivacity to Chris. As the narrator and protagonist, Elordi, with his sunny smile and winning good looks, transforms a stock character into one that viewers can not help but smile along with.

Honorable mention also goes to the film’s soundtrack, including the original song “For Me, For You” by We Are the West. With its sultry guitar riffs and catchy melody, “For Me, For You” gives the film the tender touch that it lacks elsewhere.

Despite the various tropes that it plays upon and the sometimes hackneyed script, “2 Hearts” still manages to elicit genuine themes of family and the powerful force of serendipity or divine providence, depending on point of view.

The film’s central message — that life happens for you and not to you — is one that many might do well to remember.

“2 Hearts” opens in select theaters in Atlanta on Oct. 16. Learn more at 2heartsthefilm.com.

Also, you can learn more information about the Gabriel House of Care at gabrielhouseofcare.org.