The Wedding Veil Journey

The Best of the Bunch

At the beginning of the movie, The three friends have gotten together and since they are also enjoying their wine, we know it’s been well over a year since the end of “Inspiration” when we learned Emma was newly pregnant. It’s been a total of 3 years since they first bought the veil. We follow Tracy (Alison Sweeney) home and we see that she and Nick (Victor Webster) rarely see each other, as she works during the day as the head of an art auction house, and he at night at his two restaurants. After talking to her friends, Tracy is inspired to give her marriage the kick in the pants it needs and the two end up going on their long-delayed honeymoon. They decide on Greece, the veil in tow, to lend to Nick’s still single sister in Spain. As in the second installment, we are treated to some gorgeous scenery throughout the movie.

I believe this one was very well done. It was very well put together and although not really comedic, had plenty of amusing scenes, dialogue, and a lot of heart. Alison and Nick’s relationship was very loving and mature. Any rough patches were handled by communication and a sense of humor. At one point, Nick starts surreptitiously doing the cooking for one of the owners of the struggling inn they are staying at. His food is inedible which is both a running gag and a real problem. Tracy is irritated when he starts “working” on their honeymoon, but, no worries, it is handled with no silly drama. There is drama in this one, but it is definitely not silly. Tracy and Nick get close to a cute orphan boy, a talented artist and athlete, but who lives at his school under the rule of a temperamental headmaster who actively discourages his art. As he explains to the interfering Americans, Leo will have to earn his living when he leaves the school and can’t afford to indulge his talent in a vocation that will not support him.  He has no one to fall back on, unlike impractical art majors. The neighbor who was raising him after his parents died had to be put in a care facility for early Alzheimer’s. Leo lovingly sends him his drawings weekly but it is doubtful he even remembers Leo. It is a very tragic situation and when Tracy and Nick take Leo to visit him it is a real tearjerker.

Meanwhile, in the light sweet romance department,  the veil works its magic with the young beautiful Inn owner and the grandson of a wealthy aristocrat played by Jane Asher, a British actress most famous for being engaged to Paul McCartney in the 1960s. When the young man called her “Granny”, it was jarring, to say the least. Equally jarring was learning she is almost 80 years old! Off the subject, but hey, we all love the romance and happy endings Hallmark is famous for, right? After her very public breakup with Paul, Jane Asher met Gerald Scarfe, a famous English illustrator and cartoonist. They have been together for over 50 years, and happily married for over 40. Can we have a movie about that, please?

There was a lot going on in this 6th Wedding Veil movie: Mystery (the veil keeps disappearing) light romance, Humor (the inedible food and the victims’ efforts not to hurt the amateur chef’s feelings) suspense and drama ( the antagonistic head of the school), and some real heartwarming moments involving how Tracy and Nick handle their attachment to Leo and how they help him.  Tracy and Nick have to have a think about their whole lifestyle and the kind of people they are individually and as a couple.  I thought it was well handled, with due respect given to balancing each of their careers with their relationship along with how they handle the situation with Leo. Unlike some of its predecessors,  All of the plot threads were fully developed, interconnected, and well-integrated into one coherent story. We are also treated to a thought-provoking defense of the importance of art in everyday life.

Yes, Autumn Reeser and Lacey Chabert do horn in on Alison’s honeymoon, Autumn on a small pretext, but Lacey flying halfway around the world on no pretext whatsoever. This does serve to illustrate what a good sport Nick is, however. Tracy is one lucky woman. I want to add that Alison’s acting in this was superb. I once referred to Alison Sweeney as Hallmark’s best crier. She is, IMHO, but in this one, her performance was truly moving. And she was funny too.

After a 7th couple is brought together by the Wedding Veil, (Nick’s sister is now married, we hear,) Tracy, whose skepticism is a running thread throughout the series is forced to admit that she has no choice but to believe in Magic.  The movie ends with the women going shopping, being lured into a shop, and tempted by a beautiful antique necklace that, oh no! has a legend attached to it. Everything has come full circle. Well played, Hallmark.

Rating: 9 out of 10.

The Wedding Veil Inspiration

Terror in the Art Department

I liked most of this one. The script was smart and the plot was multilayered without being all over the place. All of the actors did a nice job.  Emma’s (Autumn Reeser) slowness to realize her professional life needed a reset got on my last nerve, but mostly it was very enjoyable, buoyed considerably by the charm of the secondary romance. The movie picks up a few months after the ending of  Lacey Chabert part II, A.K.A. The Wedding Veil Expectations. Paolo and Emma are living in Chicago with Emma pursuing her career goal of being the director of the Art History Department at the University.  Paolo is in the midst of opening the new Chicago location of his family’s lace business.


While her rigid taskmaster of a boss is preparing Emma to take her place as department head, Paolo is called back to Italy to deal with his father’s health crisis. Meanwhile, a cousin, Matteo, has left his home in Miami to live in Chicago and take over the day-to-day running of the new store. During the grand opening Matteo meets Lily, Emma’s assistant, and due to an almost accident, they both touch The Veil together and their fate is sealed. Carlo Marks as Matteo, and Kacey Rohl as Lily are both charming and appealing with Lily, in particular, having a quirky and well-rounded personality with a nice sense of humor. And a terrible haircut.

The main event, however, is the trouble Emma is having at work which is causing some hiccups in her and Paolo’s personal life and worrying her two best friends. The more she is groomed by her boss to take over the long-dreamed-of position, the more unhappy she becomes. Her very bossy boss insists she give up her teaching assignments, work longer hours (leaving less time with Paolo,) go to bureaucratic meetings, and stop posting her popular educational art videos. Emma complies unhappily with each new restriction. It is obvious to the viewer and everyone else except her that the post that has always been her professional goal is not a good match for her. When will the light dawn? When her tyrannical boss advises Autumn that she must give up her stylish wardrobe because it doesn’t reflect the image she must project, I thought that that surely must be the last straw. I mean, why would an ART professor have a wardrobe like a trial lawyer? But sure enough, she shows up at work the next day in a black “who died?” suit getting looks from all of her friends and colleagues. At this point, I was getting remote-throwing level frustrated with her not putting her foot down. Adding to the pressure, are Paolo’s increasing obligations in Italy. Long-distance relationships don’t work for Emma, and she is in a quandary.

All is resolved finally with an unanticipated (by me, anyway) twist, that puts a new light on Emma’s struggles and bumped my rating up a star. I liked that Paolo was loving, clear-eyed, and patient throughout all of the drama, but was not a doormat.  I liked the lesson Emma learned at the end about building a happy life with your husband and working towards professional goals. But I wish she had learned it without being driven by force to the end of her rope.

Next week we have the last entry in this second trilogy. I am a little worried about that one because according to the previews it has Autumn and Lacey horning in on Alison Sweeney and Victor Webster’s delayed honeymoon. All I can say is that the reason for this intrusion better be good.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

The Wedding Veil Expectations

Expectations Met, but not Exceeded

I found this only mildly entertaining. It was good to see the three women together again, I like the actress’s rapport and their characters’ solid long-term supportive friendship, and Lacey Chabert’s wardrobe choices remain a constant source of fascination. I will be front and center for Autumn Reeser’s turn in the spotlight next week. Or at least my DVR will be.

Basically, the plot was a series of bumps in the road and challenges revolving around Lacey’s character discovering that she’s pregnant, and dealing with a new and antagonistic executive director who has complete creative control over the museum in which she devotedly works. And other unrelated stuff. It is an episodic plot rather than one having a focused beginning, middle, and end.

First, we have the dilemma of how and when she is going to break the happy baby news to her husband. Her perfect romantic setting and plans are upended a couple of times. Finally, she just bursts out with the news after a little fight and all is well.

We have her hormones acting up and some amusing scenes regarding forgetfulness, cravings, aversions, nausea, and heightened emotions. Lacey is great in these scenes.

We have the loneliness of her mother-in-law established. A suitable love interest presents himself when she holds the magical veil. But hold the phone. Peter, her son and Lacey’s husband disapproves and is suspicious. He is rude, so we have the resulting break-up. She tells her swain she is still in love with her dead husband and also the new relationship is making her son unhappy. So which is it?

Meanwhile, we have Peter, the son and husband in question struggling with his conflicted feelings. There is an awkward but, thanks to the actors, entertaining, first meeting at a restaurant.

We have a big home renovation money-pit sub-plot. Lacey and Peter have bought an old historic home with lots (and lots) of constantly emerging problems. They pop up throughout the movie. They did not generate too much concern though, because Peter and Lacey are fabulously wealthy and can well handle the expense. Thus, Peter’s frustration and distress over all the bad news the doom merchant contractor continues to bring is kind of boring and comes across as a little whiny.  And why does a contractor care about Lacey’s color choice for her curtains anyway? Picky, I know, but it was just one of those “huh?” moments.

And Let’s not forget Peter’s tussles with the typically mean school board regarding the art program he heads. Several scenes about that.

And wait, there’s more. We have Lacey’s conflict with her “arrogant, opinionated” boss who wants to improve the suffering attendance at the museum by changing up the art. This includes getting rid of the first trilogy’s Amici portrait and the magical wedding veil it depicts. The drama of the conflict was blunted for me because I actually saw his point. In all of the scenes in the museum, I never saw one paying visitor. He was just doing his job. He thinks Lacey is a dilettante and overly emotional and invested in lace. In fairness, I couldn’t really blame him. Also I kind of liked the S.O.B. I was hoping that he would touch the veil, find love with Lucy the assistant, and turn into a good guy.

Throughout it all, we have Lacey on the phone or in person with her buddies venting, confiding, and getting advice and support. Alison Sweeney shone particularly in one of these scenes, turning insignificant dialogue into a genuinely touching half-a-minute.

All is resolved happily: Lacey’s professional challenges in particular by a scheme that dramatically bolsters the museum’s languishing attendance and saves the painting. It should have been enacted long before. I guess sometimes it takes a  bad guy to get the good guys off their patooties.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

A Magical Christmas Village

Team Summer

Summer is an architect and a single mother who is busy busy busy. She is all about fixing things, control, rules, and organization. She doesn’t have time for a serious relationship, and plus she just hasn’t felt that “spark” yet. She is kind of forced to take her hippy-dippy mother in, (Marlo Thomas) when her lover leaves town and sells the house she has been living in.

Her mother, Vivian, is the exact opposite of Summer. She believes in living in the moment and letting “the universe” guide her life. Plans Schmlans. Because of her lifelong irresponsibility, she is in a financial mess, without enough money to live on. Luckily, Summer and her other daughter, April, provide a safety net. But to my irritation, that does not stop her from nagging Summer about her overly planned-out life which has stopped her from living freely, finding love, and stopping to smell the roses. All while living in Summer’s home, on her dime, one step away from homelessness. At one point, she complains, “I didn’t ask you to be my keeper!” In my mind, she should have been humbly grateful and refrained from criticizing the work ethos that enabled Summer to help her. She certainly was not in any position to give Summer advice. She moves out. But where does she go? To her other daughter’s house!

The irony is that Summer is the way she is because of Vivian’s unstable parenting. It is revealed that 16-year-old Summer had to go to the bank and set up a payment plan after 6 months of living without electricity because Vivian just couldn’t be bothered to pay the bills after her husband died. That was heartbreaking. Throughout most of the movie, Vivian thinks she is some kind of wise shaman with all of the answers, which was far far from reality. I was not a fan, especially when Vivian’s refusal to discuss her financial situation combined with her defense of her lifestyle brought Summer to tears of frustration. Alison Sweeney is a really good actress.

The main story is about how the two women learn from each other and learn to find a happy medium. The always charming Luke Macfarlane provides the love interest and he has great chemistry with Alison Sweeney, which, TBH, I was kind of surprised about.

Their happy ending, and to a lesser extent, the rapprochement between Summer and Vivian is guided by the Magical Christmas Village that Vivian sets up at Summer’s house. Summer’s daughter starts to move the figurines around and soon figures out that she is also guiding the footsteps of people in real life as she does so. It was a cute concept if you don’t think about it too hard. This was pretty good, despite the fact that I hated Vivian’s guts through most of it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Wedding Veil Legacy

Last but not Least

The script was not a challenge for good actors: no great emotional highs and lows, but the whole cast of seasoned Hallmark actors did an excellent job. All handled the good humor and banter with aplomb. I particularly enjoyed Matty Finochio as the assistant, Stanley.

Tracy, played by Alison Sweeney, the third woman in the triumvirate of Wedding Veil owners begins her story by breaking up with her boyfriend, Finn. It is handled very maturely. He has gotten a great job across the country, and Tracy does not want to leave New York or her own great job. They are sad to part ways, but as we have gathered from the previous two installments, they have grown apart lately anyway.

Tracy takes the veil to a tailor(?) to have a snag repaired and meets Victor Webster getting fitted for a tuxedo. There is some good-natured raillery. Allison is planning an important party for her job and is in the market for a new caterer. Her search brings her to a new restaurant accompanied by Autumn and Lacey. Lo and behold Victor is the head chef and part-owner with his family. The meeting between the women and Victor is chuckle-worthy thanks to the three actresses’ comic timing and easy rapport.

The side story of Tracy’s mission to obtain a newly discovered early draft of the famous Emma Lazarus poem for the museum where it can be enjoyed by the public is interesting. It adds some suspense and provides the pretext (Victor might know an investor), along with picking out art for the new location of Victor’s restaurant, fun with food, and rug hauling around, for the promising couple to spend more time together. Alison and Victor make a good pair both age-wise and in physicality.

Unlike the second installment, the plot is tightly written. There are quite a few little stories, but the focus remains on the couple and their developing relationship. Every individual side element gets tied into the whole, including the Emma Lazarus poem welcoming immigrants to America. The continuing mystery of how the veil got to San Francisco is well incorporated into this final chapter and provides a satisfying conclusion involving a lovely coincidence and a twist. After the veil does its job of finding husbands for the three likable friends, it finds its own happy final home.

Of the three movies, I rank the first one the best for its humor, this one second for the well-constructed plot, and the second one my least favorite. 7 1/2 stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

February 21, 2022

The Wedding Veil Unveiled

Prego!

In part two of the trilogy, The Wedding Veil Unveiled, Autumn Reeser is going to Italy to teach an Art History class for a month or so. She is taking the veil with her to confirm that it is the same veil in the portrait, and if so, to learn the history behind it. For one thing, how did it get to San Francisco? First of all, if I were Lacey Chabert or Alison Sweeney I would be royally P.O. ed that Autumn Reeser got to go to Italy for her part of the trilogy, and I didn’t. The beautifully photographed scenes in that country were one of the best parts of this one. While Autumn and her love interest are investigating the story behind the veil worn in the portrait by the fictional artist Amici we vicariously explore some beautiful destinations including Venice, Verona, Burano, and Padua. No Rome, and I didn’t miss it at all.

It seemed like there were more side stories in this one than is usual. The story behind the Veil was intriguing and well thought out. They brought in some hurdles for Autumn to overcome in teaching her Art History class which were engaging. It was good that they had the capable and poised Autumn screw up a little bit. Her buttoned-up personality needed to be loosened up. Her love interest, Paolo, had his own problems. He was part of a family that has been in the lace business for generations. We get to know his large loving family, which was nice. But he wants to expand the business, and his father is too cautious and conservative. One of the stories, about the young student who couldn’t afford the tuition came out of left field and was basically a time-filler since it was completely untethered to anything else going on in the stories. Since we didn’t have baking shenanigans, ice skating, or snowball fights? With the extraneous details given about the boy’s situation, it seemed like they were going to hook it in somewhere, but in the end, they just didn’t get it done.

Although the male lead was handsome and likable, the romance was just so-so, and more than a little routine. But I liked the meet-cute and the meet-cute part II. And when the final scene showed them getting married I admit I had an “Awwhh” moment. Maybe there was just too much other stuff going on.

I just want to add that Autumn’s wardrobe in this was beautiful and well-chosen and she looked great. I questioned a lot of the choices for (or by?) Lacey Chabert in part I, but the only thing that was a little questionable in this one was her choice of shoes to go sightseeing in. She looked very uncomfortable. Part 3 featuring the cynical unromantic Alison Sweeney character was well set up and I’m looking forward to it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

February 15, 2022

The Wedding Veil

Lacey and Lace

This was pretty entertaining and I’m looking forward to the next 2 installments of the trilogy starring Autumn Reeser and Alison Sweeney. This first one featured Lacey Chabert with Kevin McGarry playing the love interest.

Three friends are in San Francisco for their yearly get-together. They are out antiquing and Lacey spies a beautiful vintage wedding veil. The owner tells them that the veil comes with magical powers. Whoever owns the veil will meet their true love while it is in their possession. The girls decide to all buy it together, and Lacey will take it home. She soon meets Kevin McGarry and they have an instant connection. Coincidentally they both live in Boston where they plan to continue to see each other. While at the airport, Kevin sees the wedding veil with Lacey and overhears her having a conversation about planning a wedding that he assumes is hers. (It’s not.) He immediately gives her the brush and leaves. Lacey is confused and disgusted.

They keep meeting up while in Boston because Lacey is an assistant curator of a museum and he is the rich philanthropist who is hosting a gala to raise money for the museum. What follows is a quite amusing series of encounters between the two where Lacey seems very open to a relationship while Kevin thinks she is about to get married. He acts very attracted to her and then keeps backing off, confusing and angering poor Lacey to no end. Meanwhile, he can’t understand why such a seemingly nice woman is acting like a cheat and a tease. It’s Cute. The truth finally comes out after an hour and 15 minutes. The subplot is also interesting. Lacey discovers a dirty and faded 19th-century portrait of a bride wearing a very familiar-looking veil in the Museum’s basement and finds out it is a lost masterpiece. She wants it to be the centerpiece of the gala but it has to be restored in record time. So there is a lot of running around and intrigue over that.

Lacey’s wardrobe choices in this were very odd. She wears a lot of flowery floating low cut off-the-shoulder dresses one of which, I swear, looked like a filmy nightgown. You could see right through much of it. They would have been OK for a formal garden party but not for shopping, at work, or rooting around filthy basements. I’m also not sure I liked the pairing with Kevin McGarry although they were fine individually. The chemistry between the 3 queens of Hallmarkland was off the charts, however.

After Lacey and Kevin tie the knot, Autumn Reeser will be taking the veil to Italy with her to have it researched to see if it’s the same veil in the portrait. The suspense is killing me.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

January 10, 2022

Time for Them to Come Home for Christmas

A Road Trip to Remember

Amnesia stories usually provide rich material for a nice story, and this one is no exception. Jessy Schram, a favorite of mine, plays a young woman who gets dunked in a river after being bumped by a car. We next see her in the local hospital near the Canadian border with amnesia. Her luggage has been lost. The only clue to who she is is an ad for a Christmas Tree lighting in Charleston, SC that she left behind at a local diner. It has a handwritten message on the back saying “Please Come” and signed “Mark”.

“Jane Doe” is an immediate hit at the hospital due to her friendly, spirited, and outgoing nature. Jessy conveys all of that with the underlying vulnerability that she is so good at. She makes a friendly connection with a nice nurse, Paul, who offers to drive her to Charleston as it is on his way to his family’s home. It is almost immediately apparent that Paul is hiding some secret pain as he is very conflicted about going home. Jessy and Brendan are perfectly cast and their performances are spot on. I like that they made Paul a nurse instead of a doctor, thus it made sense when he drives her in an old dilapidated car that conveniently breaks down on the way. A doctor would have flown.

On their road trip, they have a positive impact on all of the people they meet along the way. Including Alison Sweeney in a brief cameo appearance! This is a real thing this year. This is the third movie I have seen in which other Hallmark stars appear briefly in another movie not their own. I think it’s really cool. And very smart given the competition other networks are giving them for the attention of the Christmas movie viewing public.

The movie keeps you engaged at all times what with the mystery behind Paul’s sadness and conflicted feelings going home and Jessy’s real identity. Jessy starts having flashbacks which hint that she may be married and have a child! Why would she leave a husband and child? Is she a bad person? Is he a bad person? It won’t be a spoiler to reassure you that she is not a bad person and her future lies with the nice and attractive Paul.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

November 29, 2021

Open by Christmas

Fantastic!

Once again, Hallmark is raising the bar, as this entry in the Hallmark Christmas movie sweepstakes demonstrates. Although many of their new movies follow the usual pattern, many have not. This one, for example, features a dual storyline of two best friends who have separate and different challenges to overcome. It leaves the well-worn and predictable path in some refreshing ways.

Simone is getting ready to marry her fiance during the Christmas season. She is conflicted because her 15-year-old son is growing up and, she thinks, away from her. He is bonding too almost too well with her fiance! Both of them spend more time with each other than with her.  In response, she becomes clingy and tense. To add to the strained atmosphere, her future mother-in-law will be visiting and she doesn’t like her, thinking her too critical.

Her friend, Nicky, played by Alison Sweeney who is wonderful in this, is coming home for Christmas. Right away, this one got my attention. When her parents tell her fearfully that they are selling her childhood home, instead of weeping and wailing and trying to “save” it, she is all for it! Hallmark indulging in a little inside self-deprecating humor?  Anyway, Nicky is a confirmed single woman who finds an anonymous Christmas love letter that was written to her when she was in high school. Nicky always felt she was an outsider during her high school years and thinks of those years with embarrassment and regret. In part, it is why she has remained single. She has been afraid of rejection and never put herself “out there.” The letter shows her that maybe she was mistaken in her perspective. The two friends go on a mission to find the letter writer, and Nicky learns that most of her classmates admired and liked her and her impact was positive.

Brennan Elliot, playing against type as an awkward, shy, and a little too eager real-estate agent plays Nicky’s love interest. He was very winning in this role and the two have super chemistry. Lacey Chabert should be jealous. It is telegraphed right away that he is the letter writer. I will not go further into the plot as it is complex and many-layered and this review would be very long. What made it great was the unexpected ways things developed. The two friends do not pander to each other and tell each other the truth no matter how unpleasant. “Be a normal person!” They get genuinely hurt by upset and with each other but in the way of true friends do not let things fester. The mother-in-law is set up to be over-critical and unpleasant. They do clash, but she ends up being supportive and gives Simone good advice. There was an interesting shocker when it is revealed that Jeremy, Simone’s fiance is the one who wrote Nicky the love letter! What?! Wait!

 It was heartwarming. It was suspenseful.  It had some important lessons to impart.  It was humorous. “Nothing says “Christmas” like a tamale!” And best of all, there was no meaningless Christmas filler. Every scene was important and advanced the plot. There were a couple of things I could be snarky about but I won’t.  It was fantastic.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

November 21, 2021

Time for You to Come Home for Christmas

Not Cheerful.

Hallmark’s best crier meets Hallmark’s most gloomy sourpuss. Yes folks, this is a real holly-jolly one! For her son’s sake, Alison Sweeny, the sad widow, braves coming home for Christmas to her small town where she lived with her now killed husband. And she saves a bakery! And no murders are involved. She also meets Lucas Bryant, who lately has been cornering the market on sullen doleful damaged characters. He has also come to her hometown to finally return the pocket watch of a mysterious soldier who saved his life. A snow fort is built, a snowball fight is had, clumsy ice-skating occurs, a festival is held, baked goods are consumed, a tearful kiss happens and our heroine “moves on.”. This one does not miss a trick.

On the positive side Sweeney and Bryant have good chemistry, and Sweeney is usually pretty appealing. She does what she was hired for: brave tears. Lucas Bryant is very attractive. The productions values are good, and the story had a little mystery to keep interest going. The young son was adorable and I hope to see him in other productions. I guess I just wasn’t in the mood for this very popular entry in the Hallmark repertoire of Christmas movies.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

November 29, 2020