Gabriela Diaz, the protagonist of Netflix’s newest rom-com, Falling Inn Love, thinks the world is planted firmly beneath her feet. The San Francisco designer, played by Christina Milian, begins the film with a clear routine in place: virtual-reality-assisted stationary cycling, strict yoga sessions, grueling hours at a firm run by unappreciative blockheads, and carb-free dinner dates with her similarly vacuous beau, Dean (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman). But the familiar demands of this hustle wear on Gabriela, and soon she’s forced into a dramatic shift: Her company suddenly loses all its investors, and she breaks up with Dean after realizing he’ll never commit to her.
The dream of having it all wrested from her within a single week, Gabriela consoles herself with a Nancy Meyers–level volume of wine and enters an email competition offering entrants the chance to win a historic New Zealand inn. Bleary-eyed the next morning, she discovers she’s the improbable awardee. So begins her journey to entrepreneurship, love, and some much-needed zen, all against the picturesque backdrop of Beechwood Downs. There are few surprises here, but plenty of revelations.
Repeatedly, the film emphasizes the healing (and romantic) potential of its protagonist’s turn away from the constant rat race of professional life in San Francisco. It shares DNA with another recent Netflix original, the Ali Wong–led rom-com Always Be My Maybe. In that film, the actor and comedian plays Sasha Tran, a celebrity chef whose failed engagement to another industry power player allows her to rediscover surprising feelings for an estranged childhood friend (an HVAC technician played by Randall Park). Neither movie explicitly pits its protagonist’s professional aspirations against her ability to find romance, but both gently nudge their characters away from the pitfalls of constant toiling. Work isn’t the problem; the culture of obsession that surrounds it is.