A Cosmic Kind of Love
This is going to be messy. A Cosmic Kind of Love is sweet but ethically nightmarish in its exploration of love as guided by distance, digital desperation, patience, and time – and some half-truths and personal growth. Some plot points keep this one from being more than average.
Hallie Goodman, she of the pink hair, is in a huge pickle. She’s an event planner at Lia Zhang Events and is trying to organize a wedding, but her client, Darcy Hawthorne, has just sent her a link to a Dropbox filled with videos of her ex’s life on a space station instead of the wedding-related materials she’d promised. Instead of doing the ethical thing, Hallie watches the videos – and finds herself falling in love with the cute, charming and funny man in them. Feeling guilty, Hallie apologizes to astronaut and veteran Captain Christopher Ortiz, who, miffed at the ideological breach, arranges for his friend Kate on the IT team at NASA to have emails from Hallie’s address mock bounce. But Hallie keeps sending videos to his defunct-as-far-as-she-knows NASA social media account. She uses the time to vent about her crappy family and high-pressure work life. On her end, everything bounces back, which means nothing’s getting through to him – right?
Kate asks Chris how he wants to proceed, and he chooses to watch Hallie’s videos. It’s love at first sight, and he comes to genuinely care about her problems. Soon, he attends Darcy’s engagement party, hoping he’ll get the chance to meet Hallie in person. They strike up a friendship, then he asks her to help him plan a retirement party for him at NASA. Spending time together results in a romance, but they have parental difficulties and relationship issues to deal with – and Chris has to figure out how to tell Hallie that he watched her videos – before they can get to happily ever after.
As if you couldn’t tell, you’re going to have to climb through a lot of boundary issues here in order to enjoy A Cosmic Kind of Love. If you can accept the notion of Hallie violating her client’s personal boundaries, Hallie sending her videos into the ether at a man she doesn’t know, and the man finding this charming and not at all creepy because he starts to relate to her personal problems and decides he likes her so much that he fosters a friendship with her under this false pretense, then maybe you’ll love this one. But it’s an awful lot for an audience to swallow. I had some trouble believing that either of them would behaving in such ethically unsound ways. But the romance itself is pretty low-stakes, comfortable, and enjoyable in spite of an easy last quarter involving a conniving third party and a third-act breakup.
Chris and Hallie both have parental issues; even though Chris is mega-successful, his father is controlling and pressure-driven, yet Chris still doesn’t feel like he compares to his dead older brother. Hallie’s divorced folks, meanwhile, play tug of war over her in the most juvenile of ways, with her father’s younger girlfriend demanding free favors from Hallie without returning an investment for Hallie’s emotional labor, and Hallie’s mother behaving in an offended and hurt way whenever she interacts with her father’s second family. Hallie feels used and torn between both camps. She and Chris eventually hash out their traumas while leaning on one another; their problems end in two different, but believable ways. I’m not a huge fan of third-act break-ups, but the interfering party at least is looking out for one of our main characters here. On the other hand, I liked the supporting characters, and the New York City setting is well-drawn.
A Cosmic Kind of Love doesn’t rocket into the literary stratosphere and ends up as a ‘just okay’ jaunt to the stars.
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Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier