Red, Green, and All the Rest
Last year, and especially this year, Hallmark started to push the envelope as far as venturing out beyond its safe and standard bone-tired plots, and this one is no exception. A secretly color-blind teacher meets an ophthalmologist, the single mother of one of his students, who sees through his lifelong tricks and strategies to disguise his disability. She enters him into a clinical trial without his consent after he tells her he is not interested once his subterfuges have been discovered. Although most definitely unethical and an invasion of privacy I can almost give her a pass on this because he doesn’t fully understand what he is missing in life. See, he is not only color-confused (red and green or blue and yellow being indistinguishable from each other,) but totally unable to see any color whatsoever. Also, it’s stupid he is not interested. Why wouldn’t he be interested? He’s a science teacher. Just because nothing has worked before, trying on a pair of glasses is hardly a surgical procedure or taking an untested drug. But it was wrong of her, it must be said. The way the whole color-blindness thing is handled is lazy and irresponsible. His condition is very rare, while the other is a fairly common condition that indeed can be mitigated by special glasses of the sort that are provided by this clinical trial. Monochromia would be impossible scientifically to correct with glasses due to the cause of the condition. Maybe this could be partially excused by deeming this cure part of a “clinical trial” but it is as far-fetched and as far from being science-based as a pill to cure alcoholism would be. In other words, the idea was interesting but the execution and details lacked authenticity to put it kindly. It is another example of Hallmark seeming like they have contempt for their viewers by glossing over unrealistic plot points that actually could potentially be harmful, hurtful, and deceitful if taken seriously.
To make matters worse this movie is sponsored by a company that makes the aforementioned glasses that mitigate color confusion in some people with lots of emotional videos of people acting like they once were blind and now can see. So they’re using the emotions that might be generated by this movie to burnish and exaggerate the benefits of their product that has nothing to do with the disability portrayed. Or maybe they were not aware of the nature of the color blindness depicted in this movie and got manipulated to buy ad space. Whatever, someone did wrong.
Once he finally tries on the glasses and his world is changed, there really isn’t anywhere else to go with it, other than going around looking at colorful scenes. Featuring mostly red and green. So it falls back on the usual tropes once the color-blindness thing is out of the way leading to the inevitable big misunderstanding. In this case, an over-eager wanna-be girlfriend and a more psycho and controlling stalker ex-boyfriend whom both leads are too nice and patient with. The good doctor even agreeing to him inviting himself to her child’s Christmas pageant. The ex-boyfriend bit could have actually been a lot more entertaining if he had gotten punched in the nose by our hero when he crudely twitted him about his pay as a middle-school teacher. However, instead, our hero chose to deliver a lecture that seemed to suggest that teachers did not need fair pay, cuz it’s “a calling” and they don’t care about the money. Very noble, but I know a few teachers that would disagree with that.
It’s not a secret that I have a soft spot for Christopher Russell. But I have to say, in some ways he was the wrong choice for this one. Of course, he fit the profile of the super nice super handsome school teacher who has all of his fellow teachers and single mothers falling all over themselves. I think I can safely theorize this aspect was added to the script when CR was cast. Because his pulchritude cannot be ignored and left unaddressed. Anyway, he should stick with the Cary Grant or Clark Gable-type roles where charm and good looks are more important than range of emotion. When he put on those glasses and saw color for the first time a lot more was required as far as an emotional reaction. On the positive side, Katrina Bowden was very good as the caring but over-stepping doctor, and her daughter was also very good. CR was believable and endearing as a committed teacher who was definitely overqualified for his job. Best of all though was Joanna Douglas as Heidi, the lead’s supportive sister. Hey Hallmark! Lock this girl in and promote her from supportive sister/friend to head girl. STAT!