REVIEW: Amazon’s ‘With Love’ Uses the Holidays to Tell the Struggles of Love

Amazon’s With Love is a present you’ll want to unwrap this holiday season, especially if you enjoy Hallmark movies.

Amazon’s With Love is a series that focuses on the Diaz family. Over the span of five episodes, the series covers Christmas Eve (Nochebuena), New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day and Day of the Dead before circling back to Christmas Eve a year later. Upon first meeting the Diaz family, it’s clear that while this is a lovely bunch of people, some of them are dealing with some personal issues over the holidays. Whether it be a recent break-up, a wife craving affection or a cousin fearful of love there’s a story we all can relate to. By the end of episode one, it’s hard not to wonder where these stories will go and how they’ll possibly be wrapped up in a series meant to skip months at a time. Shockingly? It works.

With Love does not have a single main character. This truly is an ensemble cast. Each character is important to the story and receives a fair amount of screen time. More impressively, though, along with juggling such a big cast, the series somehow manages to smoothly transition between stories. The downside to this method is, sometimes, the story gets told off-screen and then we’re thrown into the after of it all. This is something that becomes quickly apparent thanks to the fourth episode. While I do enjoy the premise, I do wish the series filmed some backstories to fill in the gaps. Sometimes, viewers need to see the story unfold rather than hear about it after the fact. It’s the one flaw With Love suffers from.

If you’re a sucker for Christmas movies or cheesy romantic comedies, With Love will be something you’ll want to devour. It’s all about romance; the messiness of it and the truths people refuse to believe at times. We see what happens when parties give up, we see what happens when others refuse to. Yes, there’s heartbreak, but With Love isn’t about selling tragedy. It’s a series about growth and learning to accept our screw-ups. It’s one of the strongest elements of the series. The characters do experience some major growth over the course of five episodes. The Lily (Emeraude Toubia) we meet in the first episode is a far cry from the woman in episode five. There is one character though, that doesn’t get to show as much growth as one would hope, though. Desmond Chiam‘s Nick is a delight in this series, although I wish he had more of a storyline.

While most shows work best with at least ten episodes, With Love manages to succeed partially because of its five-episode order. Yes, as stated, the series could benefit from some flashbacks. Ultimately, though, the year timeline forces the writers to tell a tight, cohesive story. There isn’t room for a filler episode because each episode moves the story forward. The only downside is, by the end of the fifth episode, you’ll want to spend more time with the Diaz family. Unfortunately, though, until a second season is ordered, it remains to be seen whether or not viewers will get that chance.

Full of young talent like Toubia, Chiam, Mark Indelicato and Vincent Rodriguez III, With Love is a present you’ll gladly want to unwrap this holiday season – especially if you’re a fan of Hallmark movies.

With Love debuts on Dec. 17 only on Amazon Prime.

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