A Guide to A Tourist’s Guide To Love


Movie poster on Netflix. Courtesy of Netflix.

Released as a Netflix original on April 21, 2023, A Tourist’s Guide To Love explicitly follows the classic rom-com storyline structure. Within an hour and a half, the movie explores adventure and culture while also incorporating romance and finding one’s true self into the work.

The movie follows the vacation of Amanda Riley to Vietnam. After breaking up with her boyfriend, she decides to take a week-long trip to clear her mind; though there was a business aspect to it since she works in the travel industry. Across the globe, she finds her true self as well as a new potential romance. 

As the majority of the movie takes place in Vietnam, Vietnamese culture is an underlying theme throughout the movie. There were many accurate representations of Vietnamese culture right from the beginning. The frequently seen tour buses and guides accurately portray the striving travel business in Vietnam. Amanda is taken to the market instead of a grocery or department store and learns to bargain prices with the vendor. The part that struck the most to many natives was when Amanda learned to cross the street by simply walking forward. This is a common experience in some Asian countries, if one were to wait for the street to clear or for someone to yield, they would be stuck waiting on the sidewalk forever. Variety Magazine states that “a callback that sees Amanda navigating chaotic city traffic as a pedestrian – thus showcasing her evolving confidence – is well-handled.”

Sneak peeks at the Vietnamese language is also shown, with the tourists learning terms such as Tết (Lunar New Year) and Bà Nọi (paternal grandma). There are also scenes, mainly the ones with Bà Nọi, where there are day-to-day conversations in Vietnamese. One aspect that stands out is the male lead’s Vietnamese. Sinh does occasionally speak Vietnamese, though he almost always speaks slowly; and it is as if he is doing so in order to correctly pronounce his lines without slurring. Sinh’s cousin, on the other hand, has the opposite problem. Anh fluently speaks Vietnamese and speaks English slower in comparison.

However, there have been mixed reactions to the lines and delivery. Many argue that although, yes, fiction works cannot escape its staged coincidence-after-coincidence nature, Sinh seems to have a deep and morally thought-provoking response ready at hand for many of Amanda’s concerns (for example the infamous “A tourist wants to escape life. A traveler wants to experience life.) Viewers have pointed out that although these lines are – more often than not – cheesy, the actor’s delivery undermines the cringe.

Throughout the movie, both Amanda and Sinh find the courage to follow their heart. Amidst this interior journey, Amanda also explores a new world and experiences unique traditions and rituals. The supporting characters subtly add to the home-like mood that stretches on throughout the entire movie. Variety Magazine adds on, “Perhaps it’s an idealized portrait, but it’s refreshing to see tourists not depicted as bumbling buffoons, disturbing landmarks or mocking rituals for comic purposes.” If you’re looking for a simple, bubbly rom-com movie with interests in different cultures, consider A Tourist’s Guide To Love