The Ending of 'Love at First Sight,' Explained

Netflix's latest rom-com looks at the statistical probability that a meet-cute leads to love.

Haley Lu Richardson as Hadley Sullivan and Ben Hardy as Oliver Jones in Love at First Sight
(Image credit: Rob Baker Ashton/Netflix)

Netflix's latest rom-com Love at First Sight shows the beginning of an improbable love story. Based on Jennifer E. Smith's 2013 novel The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the film follows Hadley Sullivan (Haley Lu Richardson) and Oliver Jones (Ben Hardy) during a meet-cute in an airport on December 20. After spending a cross-Atlantic flight together, Oliver puts his number in Hadley's phone, but it dies before she can save it. With the pair not even knowing each other's name and the entire city of London between them, can Hadley and Oliver reunite? Or will they lose each other forever after a perfect, chance meeting?

As evidenced by the trailer (and the fact that the source novel is billed as a best-selling romance rather than a tragedy), Oliver and Hadley are Meant To Be. Despite the "0.2 percent chance they will ever see each other again," the pair are fated to reunite, either by actual fate or the machinations of the Narrator (Jameela Jamil), who pops into the story every now and again to deliver statistics via fourth-wall breaks or nudge the couple along the way as a guardian angel. (In one early scene, she's literally the flight attendant who moves Oliver so he and Hadley are seated together for the six hour, forty-seven minute flight. 

Whether the film's stats are charming and swoon-worthy, or head-scratching and slightly morbid depend on your opinions on the concept of fate (though I admittedly skew more skeptic than romantic). Also, there's a fair chance that Oliver's subplot and reason for traveling may make you tear up and want to call your mom/parent/caretaker. Still, Love at First Sight makes a sweet, 90-minute ride out of the question of just how Hadley and Oliver will end up together?

So, how do they end up together? Here's our breakdown of the movie's ending—and whether it differs from the book.

How does 'Love at First Sight' end?

After the lovely extended meet-cute of a plane ride, we first follow Hadley as she sets out to be a bridesmaid in her father Andrew's (Rob Delaney) wedding to his new wife. Between the ceremony and reception, she overhears some guests talking about a memorial happening in Peckham, the same neighborhood where Oliver previously said he would be. Oliver didn't tell her that he was traveling for a memorial, but she thinks that may be his event anyway, and she's sad at the thought of him facing his mom's funeral by himself. Promising her dad to make it back for the reception, she heads straight there to try and find him.

Meanwhile, Oliver is attending a living memorial for his actor mom, which is Shakespeare-themed and includes eulogies in the form of poetry, monologues, and interpretive dance. (Hadley's dad is a Shakespeare professor, the thread that explains how he and Oliver's family can have mutual friends in a city as huge as London.) Oliver is clearly struggling with grief for his mom, who has cancer and has forgone treatment. 

When Hadley arrives at the memorial, she and Oliver end up arguing about Oliver not being honest about the event—he argues that he didn't want to unload his mother's illness on a stranger he just met, which, fair—and about his feelings. See, Oliver's the type of guy who will spout stats or suddenly go in for the first kiss rather than open up emotionally. So Hadley leaves saying it was a mistake for her to come, and without getting his number. However, as Narrator points out, Hadley accidentally left her bag. 

Hadley is now lost in London with a dead battery (in case you couldn't tell with the missing the flight and the forgetting the bag, all this is kind of her thing). She eventually finds a kind stranger who lets her use her phone to call her dad. He comes and picks her up, and they discuss Oliver and, eventually, Hadley's parent's divorce. After feeling conflicted about her dad's remarriage all film, the two make amends.

Meanwhile, after Oliver gives an emotional (and quite lovely) eulogy, he happens to find an invite to her dad's wedding reception in her bag. His dad finds him and chimes in with one simple, essential fact: "If I knew the odds that your mother was going to get cancer and die when I fell in love with her, do you know what I would've done differently? Absolutely nothing." All the possible hurt and pain pales in comparison at the chance of lifelong love. So, Oliver piles into his brother's van with the whole family and they race to the reception. He finds Hadley at the reception, he apologizes in his own subtle way, and Hadley accepts his apology with a kiss. She tells him that she's decided to stay in London for Christmas with her dad, and he starts spouting statistics about couples meeting at an airport or because of missed connections. She asks him what he's actually studying. The answer? "The statistical probability of love at first sight." (Cue the Pointing Leonardo DiCaprio meme.) 

The Narrator gives a final mini-monologue about the rest of Hadley and Oliver's life together, mentioning they'll be married for 58 years and have at least one daughter, as the ending caption unfurls, reading, "The beginning..."

How is 'Love at First Sight' different from the book?

While the film adaptation does make several changes from the book, most of them are minor things like when Oliver and Hadley meet (over luggage in the book and a phone charger in the movie) and when their first kiss happens (right before customs in the book, while the movie makes us wait until the final scene). Oliver's backstory is fleshed out a bit more; while he was traveling for his father's funeral in the book, the movie's living wake for his mother is a new invention, but just as heart-wrenching. 

There's also the big change of making the Narrator an actual person. Adapting a book like Smith's means narration's pretty much guaranteed—and the use of the stats behind each of Oliver and Hadley's crossroad decisions is effective—but the guardian angel aspect brought up a lot of questions. Is Jameela Jamil Cupid? The manifestation of fate? A god come to earth to steer these stupid humans in the right direction? Mental spiral aside, the change ends up working for Love at First Sight the film, which stays faithful to the heart of the book.

Quinci LeGardye
Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.