“I’m the Bad Guy!”
This was a very well-constructed story about the danger of being too rigid and the importance of second chances. We learn almost from almost the first scene that Our Heroine is very flawed and know right away that she has lessons to learn and a personal journey to go on in order to become a better person. It is a measure of the actress Nazneen Contractor’s skill and appeal that I didn’t hate her or feel hostile to her. (Unlike with 2 recent hallmark movies in December starring the same actress playing women who also had lessons to learn. I’m looking at you, Jen Lilley.)
Christina Joy Osbourne is a restaurant and wine critic. She is harsh, negative, demanding, bossy, and rigid. These traits are symbolized at the beginning by her too-high spikey heels and being a bad baker. Her mother tells her she doesn’t always have to follow the recipe to the letter and needs to be more creative and flexible. (This was actually a bad metaphor because, in baking, you actually do have to follow the recipe. But we get the idea.) Her relationship with her almost-fiance is negatively affected by her personality, and we quickly learn that it also caused her writing partner to go solo as well. A writing partner whose fair and balanced “glass half full” approach has pushed her to the top of the wine critic world. We also learned that our heroine has brought a family winery to the brink of ruin by a harsh unfair review and her refusal to give them a second chance. The stage is set.
Christine is assigned to attend a wine festival and in a twist of fate winds up on the doorstep, without her phone or purse, of the family winery she almost ruined. When she learns her mistake, in her haste to get away, she slips on the ice with her spiked heels, hits her head, and gets amnesia. Brennan Elliot and his family kindly invite “Joy” to stay the “3 to 7 days” it will take to get her memory back. Brennan is kind of adorable in this despite his 47 years and the chemistry between the two leads is excellent. Needless to say, she undergoes a sea change without her memory and regains her former happy, fun, kind, easy-going self. This is symbolized by her newfound success in baking and her new comfy shoes. Brennan and Nazneen fall in love.
While on a trip into town, she runs into her old writing partner who tells her who she is. She is horrified as Brennan and family have made no secret of how they justifiably feel about the destructive C. J. Osburne. All proceeds according to the Hallmark planogram. She keeps her Identity a secret, they find out anyway (in a real holy crap moment.) Lots of anger, then forgiveness as “Joy” makes up for her past unprofessional behavior in spectacular fashion and a winery and romantic relationship is saved.
Despite its by the book following of the Hallmark amnesia script bible, I did enjoy this. I liked that Christina had really gotten off track with her attitude, but that we didn’t hate her and could see she was a good person at heart. I liked the touchstones along the way of Spiked heels vs. Comfy shoes, and the baking metaphor for her personality change. As “Joy” she encourages Brennan’s daughter to go with the pink dress she loves even though it doesn’t suit her color palate according to the “rules”. The ice wine background was interesting and educational. Brennan is developing an ice wine to save the winery against his father’s wishes as it is a risky endeavor that he previously failed at. Ice wine was discovered due to a “happy accident” of ruined frozen grapes in 19th c. Germany which were given a second chance. Much like Christina is frozen in her outlook on life and her fall on the ice that caused her amnesia was also a “happy accident.” She should have given the winery a second chance since their submission was bad due to a fluke, just as Dad needs to give Ice wine a second chance. Both Brennan and her old partner give C.J. a second chance. All the little threads came together to fall in with the themes of the story thanks to a very mindful well thought out script. I appreciated the attention to detail.
January 17, 2022