Very well done and enjoyable…and the future bodes well for Sasha Gordon

by Martin Hafer

It Had to Be You is a decent romantic comedy. However, despite my having a reservation about the plot (which I’ll get to in a moment), I don’t want to miss mentioning something really important about this film. The director and co-writer of the film, Sasha Gordon, is a successful composer for movies but has very, very limited experience in directing and writing. In fact, it’s the first full-length film she’s ever made…and I really think it’s important to remember this. After all, with experience, I can only see her films getting better and better and this is an amazing film for someone with her limited experience.

The plot is what bothered me a bit about the picture…and it might be worse because I am a trained psychotherapist. The couple in the film probably never should have been together and the nice ending, to me, made the counselor in me want to jump up and yell “Don’t marry her!!!” Let me explain more about this…

It Had To Be You
Directed by
Sasha Gordon
Cristin Milioti, Dan Soder, Halley Feiffer
Release Date
Martin’s Grade: B

When the film begins, Sonia stumbles upon her boyfriend preparing for an incredibly romantic evening where he’s going to ask her to marry him. Instead of staying, she sneaks out of the apartment and phones her friend to tell her how horrified and confused she feels…as she doesn’t want to get married. Unfortunately, when she turns around, Chris (Dan Soder), happens to be standing there…hearing how his beloved isn’t thrilled about marriage or his elegant attempt to propose to her. Naturally he’s heartbroken but they soon patch things up when she convinces him that she just needs more time. Unfortunately, months later she still is ambivalent about marriage. She does love Chris in her own way…but Sonia seems to love her independence more. Chris, on the other hand, sees the writing on the wall and is ready to leave and find someone willing to commit herself to him completely. After all, he’s 32 and wants to marry, settle down and have a family.

So here is my problem with the film. Although I loved the characters, the direction as well as most of the writing, it’s a hard sell to base an entire romance movie on a main character as unromantic and commitment-phobic as Sonia. Plus, they both have the right to want what they want…but never should have stayed together. In real life, a marriage with folks like this would likely be doomed and is anything but romantic. It naturally makes the movie a bit of a hard-sell as a romance. Folks will enjoy the quirky dialog, situations and characters….but many might be put off because when a film features someone (man or woman) who doesn’t want to get married, it just doesn’t exactly sound like someone you’d want to see in a romance! So, in some ways the romance isn’t very least for more traditional and old fashioned romantics like me. But it does some lovely moments and a few laughs. Plus, the film still works reasonably well and when I learned that Gordon was new to writing and directing, I felt amazed! Not a perfect film but a worthwhile film nevertheless…and hopefully the first of many more feature films from her.