After learning about Daisy Jones and The Six becoming a series, I decided I needed to read the adaptation. It quickly became one of my favorite books of the year. Taylor Jenkins-Reid has a voice that I really enjoy and makes me want to become a reader. So, I moved on to The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo which is also being adapted, as well as being a fantastic read. So when I saw Taylor Jenkins-Reid had adapted a book of hers into a film starring some of my favorite people it went to the top of my viewing list. One True Loves is the first of her books turned anything I’ve now seen before reading, and I feel like this was a mistake.


One True Loves stars Phillipa Soo (Hamilton) as Emma, a young woman who seems to have it all. Growing up she has a best friend who loves her, Sam, but is too afraid to make a movie. So, at a party one night she meets the popular boy Jesse and the rest is history. Emma and Jesse (Luke Bracey) seem to have a love she’s always dreamed of. The two travel the world together, going on adventures while working their cool jobs. Emma and Jesse always dreamed of getting out of her small town, and together they begin to make it happen.

One day, after Jesse leaves for Alaska on their one-year wedding anniversary his helicopter goes down, and is presumed dead. Years go by and Emma runs into her childhood best friend, Sam (Simu Liu). The two pick up where they left off. However, this time Sam doesn’t let his chance pass them by. Through flashbacks, we see that Sam has been Emma’s support through the death of her husband, even up to his proposal allowing her to pick the time if she ever wants to say yes. 

However, on the night of their engagement party, Emma gets a call that changes their life together forever. Jesse…is alive.


One True Loves from the trailer and on the surface reminds of Pearl Harbor’s love story. Childhood best friends off to war. They both meet a gorgeous nurse, and one of them marries her. The husband “dies”, and the best friend and his wife get married. Turns out the husband is alive. The difference between that and these two tales is the in-depth storytelling. 

Sadly, One True Loves misses the mark completely for me. We barely get to see Jesse and Emma’s love story to care about the two of them together. We only get her and Sam’s love story through quick flashback moments. So instead of allowing us to fall in love with both men, and understand their love stories on deeper levels (a la Pearl Harbor) we don’t spend enough time with anyone to truly care.


One True Love begins at the climax of the story. Emma is at her engagement party and gets the call from her presumed dead husband. Eventually, we flashback to when they met, go on a couple of very quick dates, see their engagement/wedding, and then he dies. Then, we’re quickly thrown into the present seeing Sam be overly understanding and watching Emma and Jesse try and rekindle what they once had.

Emma is 100% a different person than she was 5 years ago when he died. A loss like that changes you. Jesse, who has been stuck on an island, hasn’t been allowed to grow and is very much stuck in the past.

I found myself constantly asking why anything matters when I’m just being told and shown. This is a struggle that comes with book adaptations into film or television. There are time constraints. So, unless you really know how to tell a deep story in this medium it will 100% of the time fail. I feel that’s what happened here.

I was also surprised to find that it was obvious from the beginning who Emma was going to choose in the end. This feels very unlike Taylor Jenkins-Reid who, from the two books I’ve read, is very good at a twist ending you don’t tend to see coming. 

Overall, I still want to read One True Loves to see if what I was longing for in the film is actually in the book. Sadly, the film is a miss.