Upgraded: Is the Romantic Movie Inspired By a Real Couple?

Directed by Carlson Young, ‘Upgraded’ is a romantic comedy that follows Ana Santos, an ambitious yet highly overworked and underpaid intern at an auction house who dreams of having a career in the world of art. When she gets invited to a last-minute work trip to London by her intimidating yet brilliant boss, Claire Dupont, a chance encounter introduces her to the charming and wealthy William on board the plane. When Ana insinuates herself to be the boss of her company to Will, chaos ensues, leading to a delicate balancing of work, romance, and dreams until her white lie threatens to unravel itself.

Starring Camila Mendes in the titular role of Ana Santos, the film has a stellar ensemble, which includes Archie Renaux, Lena Olin, Anthony Head, and Marisa Tomei, essaying pivotal roles. Released in 2024, the story follows the repercussions of dealing with lies, especially when it starts off small and innocent and unexpectedly fireballs into something big with a lot at stake. The film’s handling of the themes of lighthearted romance and comedy, along with the impact of struggling to fulfill lifelong dreams and passions through power-packed performances, has led fans to speculate whether ‘Upgraded’ is based on a true story or is a work of fiction.

Upgraded is a Lighthearted Take on a Realistic Fiction

No, ‘Upgraded’ is not based on a true story, but it is the intelligent writing of Christine Lenig, Luke Spencer Roberts, and Justin Matthews that gives it a realistic touch. While movies dealing with unexpected carefree romance in the unlikeliest of places isn’t something new, ‘Upgraded’ opts to bring in a bit of freshness through its mixing of workplace drama into the romance. Despite opting for an often-used rags-to-riches theme, the story ensures that each of the expected elements has a touch of newness to it, thus giving it an overall relaxed watch with moments of laughter and warmth.

Harboring lifelong dreams and hoping to achieve them is something almost everyone strives for. Finding obstacles in the way is a given, too, even if it means dealing with a no-nonsense, ruthless boss who won’t let you off for a minute. But amidst those moments of despair, it is about finding the silver lining. And that’s exactly what ‘Upgraded’ intends to showcase but adding a touch of reality to its fictional narrative. Outliving her sister and brother-in-law’s goodwill in letting her stay in their house, Ana is compelled to take up any and every opportunity that comes her way.

After the initial lie on board the flight, Ana’s arrival in London sees her continue with her charade after William decides to show her around town. However, even as she attempts to play along for her heart’s sake, she is also equally invested in ensuring that she can live up to her complete potential as her boss’s assistant throughout the art auction at which she’s been sent. The delicate handling of emotions that come into play, even as Ana tries to do the right thing while often failing, is shown so naturally that viewers feel a sense of instant connection.

Despite the realization of the wrong, the will to persist just a little while longer, to live out a reality amidst a world of fiction, is seen beautifully in Carlson Young’s beautiful visual depiction of Lenig, Roberts, and Matthews’s story. Even as Ana fumbles and manages to balance out the best of both worlds, she often falters, but it’s the hope of things working out at the end that helps her push along. In this Cinderella-esque tale, both the writing team and the director have ensured that the film stays lighthearted throughout without pressing on a topic unnecessarily. To further enhance the realistic touch, Ana’s struggles are highlighted just as much as her wins, despite how small or big they may be.

Camila Mendes, as Ana, does complete justice through her impeccable comic timing and charming chemistry with Archie Renaux, who does just as well in his character of the captivating and handsome prince charming-esque William Laroche. Marisa Tomei, as the brilliant and perfectionist Claire, reminds one of Meryl Streep’s iconic ‘Devil Wears Prada’s’ Miranda Priestly, although Tomei does add her individual nuances. The entire ensemble cast has ensured that they are perfectly able to bring Carlson Young’s rom-com dream to life. However, despite the use of realistic moments and tropes within the narrative, the story of ‘Upgraded’ is simply a very compelling, relatable work of fiction.

Read More: Where Was Amazon Prime’s Upgraded Shot?