Sense, Sensibility, and Snowmen

A Defiant 10

I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s books and seen all of the films and series based on her books numerous times. I’ve read a lot of Austen-based modern interpretations as well. I am drawn to the numerous modern riffs on Austen and enjoyed many of them. My favorites are Clueless and Bollywood’s Bride and Prejudice. So of course I’ve seen the previous attempts Hallmark has made to capitalize on Austen’s current popularity. They were shameless exploitations because neither the plot nor the characters had anything to do with Jane’s works.

This one was different. Like Sense and Sensibility, we have two sisters who have an “Us against the world” mentality. One is flighty and starry-eyed, and one is practical and down to earth. They run a party planning business together. They are a believable version of what a modern Marianne and Eleanor might be. The love interest is a reserved button-down and shy corporate head who is dominated by an over-bearing parent and romantically linked to a childhood sweetheart. There is also a secondary love interest called Brandon. But here’s where the scriptwriter wisely mixes it up. Instead of All-business practical Marianne (they also switch the names of the two sisters) being paired off with the Corporate stick-in-the-mud, It is the lively Ella who takes him by storm and shakes up his life and attitudes. It is very cute and more suitable for the modern Rom-com. The chemistry between the two couples and the sisters was romantic and touching. The acting was some of the best I have seen in a Hallmark lately. Erin Krakow was wide-eyed, energetic, and outgoing as her character called for. Erin surely has been doing these Hallmarks for 2 decades, but she hasn’t changed a bit. She was charming. Kimberley Sustad, a Hallmark stalwart, made Marianne likable and understandable despite her buzz-kill personality. Even though the two characters had conflicts and conflicting world-views, their love and loyalty to each other were touchingly done and affecting. Luke McFarlane was superb. He usually plays cardboard cut-out romantic heroes. In this one, he started out as a real pill who slowly and realistically melted and opened up. I was very impressed by the job he did with the Edward Ferrar personality. He was funny. I loved the chemistry between Luke and Erin, and couldn’t wait for the final chaste clinch.

So yes, I give this a 10. Overgenerous? Perhaps. But with this one, I’m grading on the Hallmark curve against a singularly lackluster couple of years of Hallmark Christmas movies. I’m amazed at some of the sour and overwrought reviews this one has gotten. I can only think that their experience with modern Austen takes is pretty limited.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

December 3, 2019

5 thoughts on “Sense, Sensibility, and Snowmen

  1. Scrolling through old reviews. I hope you did a Maggie’s Christmas Miracle, I love Luke the most in that one! Thought you might enjoy this Austen vs Bronte debate from Intelligence Squared. Brilliant.

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    • I did see Maggie’s Christmas Miracle, but I never reviewed it. I gave it a 7 on IMDb. Luke is my favorite Hallmark hero along with Steve Lund (off the top of my head). Will definitely look at the debate! Thanks!

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      • Hope you enjoyed it. I thought the Bronte bit was brilliant. I checked out Erica and she has impressive credentials herself. How’d you like to have a weekly bridge game with those three? I would want it to last for 6 hours and I’m sure the player whose ace I most certainly wouldn’t want to trump would be Kate’s!! 🙂 I think my favorite Erin movie might be “Finding Father Christmas”.

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  2. I DVR’d it last night and now I get to watch it armed with this review. I’ll try to like the sister better but it won’t be easy. What is it with sisters…..I wanted to slap Jessy Schram’s in “Time for Them to Come Home for Christmas”. The Jane Austen guy in that debate also said Clueless was the best!! If you’ve had a chance to watch it you surely loved the re-enactment from “Emma”. 🙂 That debate enabled me to understand the impact they had at the time, when they were new to everybody. We can’t imagine that now, having been exposed to them all our lives…..that was the most interesting thing to me.

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  3. This is the Jane Austen guy from the Austen-Bronte debate, a few years later and somewhat subdued, and I wish you’d send him a link to your stuff and see what he sends back. You know he’ll be flattered and respond and I think he’ll be impressed. He seems like a very nice man and I’ve read that he is very close to his daughters, at least one of whom attends and critiques all his appearances, and anyone who loves his children is okay by me. Check out some of his YouTube stuff and tell him you’re a fan.

    Stuff like this:

    Do it just for fun. You certainly have nothing to be ashamed of. Tell him I said hi. 😉
    https://www.ucl.ac.uk/english/people/john-mullan

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