Presence of Love

Coats of Many Colors

In many ways, this one reminded me of some of the gentle English Family-oriented romances written in mid 20th century that are such a comfort and joy to me. Or some of the later stories by a favorite author, Rosamunde Pilcher. A fragile, introverted, and very nice young woman escapes to Cornwall to recover from some trauma. There is usually a granny involved, as well as a young child, a dog, a cottage, a close rural community, and an upstanding but grouchy love interest. This one fit the bill except the love interest was just nice, not grouchy.

This one largely deserves the very positive reviews it has gotten. Eloise Mumford is wonderful in this as the panic attack prone Joss. She is seeking tenure as a professor of English but her paper has been rejected. She is still grieving the death of her mother a year earlier and takes pills to stave off a life-long anxiety problem. Her best friend discloses that Joss’s mother had planned to take her to her childhood home in Cornwall as a surprise for her birthday and insists that Joss go anyway and work on her paper there, which she does. Everything proceeds very predictably as usual, but as Hallmark devotees know, if a Hallmark Romance appears on Hallmark Murders and Mysteries, it is going to go a little deeper than the usual rom-com shenanigans.

Famous British Actress (Downton Abbey, etc., etc.) Samantha Bond plays the mother of Daniel, the owner of the farm/B&B and Joss’s love interest. She is fighting with her son who wants to put Wind Turbines in one of their sheep fields for the sorely needed income. Underneath her polite façade, she is cold, rude and hostile, change-averse, and old-fashioned despite her snazzy sweaters and chic haircut. She was so remote and scary that when she breaks down and kindly helps Joss with her grief, it is genuinely touching. Meanwhile Joss mentors Daniel’s dyslexic daughter. So there is quite a lot going on, including a mysterious woman that may or may not be a ghost or a figment of Joss’s imagination. There is lots of English poetry quoting which was nice. The scenery and photography were beautiful.

The moral of the story is that security and safety are over-rated and sometimes taking chances and living a little is the path to take. Instead of pursuing tenure (security and safety) which was only adding to her stress, she decides to live in the moment and move to Cornwall to be with Farmer Dan and his little family and also travel. We have a “One Year Later” epilogue in which we see she is happily in charge of the literary festival and happy in her relationship with Daniel. Speaking of the epilogue, I was going to refrain from adding to the general criticism of the vast number of coats that Joss crammed in her suitcase to wear in Cornwall. (Blue, Pink, Red, Houndstooth, and a Puffy Jacket.) But when she was sporting still ANOTHER DAMN COAT one year later (Tartan) I couldn’t resist.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

March 16, 2022

8 thoughts on “Presence of Love

  1. I loved it better than any I’ve seen. I watched it and watched it and loved it…….and then the male protagonist came out of the closet in real life and totally killed my buzz. I surprised myself, but I haven’t watched it since, since what’s the point. Interesting. I love your reviews!!

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    • Thanks for liking my reviews. I’m sorry you were bothered by the actor coming out. Some of my favorite leading men are Gay in real life. I’m happy it doesn’t bother me!

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      • Oh I promise you I’m not bothered by that at all. Never! It is a marvelous love story, but my romantic fantasies crave consumation and that knowledge after the fact got in the way. I was surprised by that reaction is all, not a comment on anything.

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  2. I started going through your reviews and my gosh you’re prolific!!! I had missed Trading Christmas and really enjoyed it……..hardly any of the maddening tropes!!

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    • I had been putting reviews on IMDb for a few years when I decided to do WordPress. So I had a big head start. Trading Christmas was a good one. Much better than the book.

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  3. I felt the guy sort of lurched at Faith Ford in a vaguely menacing way but I accepted him because of your Jack Nicholson(ish) thing. The pushy friend was the best. Your stuff is soooooo clever!! I’m plundering your oeuvre ;-). I hope you get a chance to watch the Austen vs Bronte video from Intelligence Squared since you are such an Austen fan…..her proponent is a scream. I’ve been a Bronte fan forever but didn’t truly appreciate the contribution she made. Very impressive!!!

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