A Fresh and Wholesome Romance.
This is a delightful romance between two clergy-persons. Samaire Armstrong as Casey is battling sexism and some hostility among the board of trustees and her own feelings of insecurity and self-esteem. The actress who plays her is very attractive in a “girl next door” way and I liked her portrayal. Her love-interest/colleague is played by Brendan Penny who is a reliable Hallmark stalwart. I do have a soft spot for romance involving clergy so full disclosure. I think it adds a certain tension and interest when the parties have to be responsible to a community and maintain a certain standard of behavior that their feelings and emotions might conflict with. The movie does not hit you in the head with Christianity, but also does not shy away from bringing Christian values and church politics(usually the opposite of Christian values) into the story. I was touched by some of the developments.
Adding to the enjoyment is the delightful Leanne Lapp as Casey’s secretary and supporter, Letoya Luckett-Walker as her fellow pastor and wise friend, and Jody Thomson as the supportive trustee. Not to mention Gabrielle Rose as the “baddie” who has a story of her own.
Highly recommend for Hallmark movie lovers who are sick and tired of the stale Hallmark plot lines but who want a wholesome sweet romance with a little character growth, conflict and suspense. With more and more options to choose from with PixL and UpTV on the scene, Hallmark would be well-advised to stop taking their loyal audience for granted and provide some fresh material and casting as this one does.
May 31, 2020
Jessica-Look at this Movie and do the Opposite
I don’t want to pile on to poor Jessica Lowndes, so I will say that I quite enjoyed her in Christmas at Pemberley. I mentioned in that review that she had toned down her looks a bit. If Jessica wants to continue being a Hallmark staple, she needs to continue to follow the example in the recent movie. Caught about an hour of this earlier Hallmark movie last night. This one serves as a cautionary reminder of what Jessica should stay away from. Oh my Lord. That eye-liner! She looks like a reincarnation of Nefertiti. I am sure if she ever catches this one herself, she will be wondering what she was thinking. Hallmarks are better suited to the girl next door types, not the exotic beauties, in my opinion. I also agree with the commenter that pointed out her rapid fire delivery which serves to make her seem like a line-reader rather than a thoughtful actress who is really inhabiting her character. She also had the habit of speaking from the back of her throat like she was trying to be a ventriloquist. She must have been studying her craft a bit in the year since this movie, because she has really improved. She is not great, but she is on the right path.
December 21, 2018
A Waste of a Good Idea
This one was a pretty solid effort which kept my interest. it was somewhat multifaceted with some interesting corporate politics along with the usual city girl v. small town Christmas. I liked the pairing of Lacey Chabert with Brendan Penny. Lacey is a solid actress, and with this one, she seems to have tamed, a bit, her nervous giggle tick that she seems to have developed in later years. I liked her family, especially Sherry, who was one of the stars in one of my favorite Hallmark-like romances, This Matter of Marriage, which was actually produced by Harlequin. It was great to see her again. This one did feature the usual boring boyfriend, but it was refreshing that she really just let him go and didn’t hem and haw about it.
Like another Hallmark movie this year, I think it is pretty shameless to try to reel in Jane Austen fans, with the title of the movie, while not incorporating any of the themes in the actual plot or character. It’s too bad, because the role reversal of the heroine taking the Darcy role, and the hero taking the Elizabeth Bennett role could have been great. I don’t recall that that gimmick has ever been done before. Would have been pretty interesting. **7 out of 10**
December 4, 2018
Cashing in on a Better than Usual Original. Unfortunately It’s Nothing but a Pale Imitation
A pale sequel to the very good Autumn in the Vineyard. The same beautiful landscapes without any of the interesting suspenseful plot points and multidimensional characters of the original. Frankie and Nate are trying to keep their new venture afloat but have conflicting management styles and suffer from a lack of communication. At the end they learn to work together. Thanks to a miracle at the end their vineyard is saved. Yawn. **4 out of 10 stars**
August 22, 2017
One of the better productions in a long time. Set in beautiful wine country, the country-side was gorgeous. Rachel Leigh Cook makes a great Hallmark heroine and her chemistry with the love interest was very good. It started out with some good conflict with her father who not only took her for granted but figuratively slapped her in the face by denying her her rightful place in his business. She rightly struck out on her own by buying her own vineyard, much to his dismay. I love a good comeuppance story. The plot moved on nicely, forcing the h/h to co-manage their vineyard which was somehow sold to both of them at the same time. They had a history and a rivalry already, which added interest to their romance and the development of their relationship. There was a little hint of a secondary romance of an older couple (the hero and heroine’s parents and the heads of competing vineyards.) and a younger couple. There were plenty of interesting secondary characters to keep things moving along. I really like the actress who played the friend. (Ali Leibert) And it was interesting that his family was kind of sketchy. They avoided a real T.V. remote throwing potential plot twist by avoiding the trap of having her save her dad from bankruptcy by giving up her own successful venture. That would have been a terrible message to send. So thank-you. **8 out of 10 stars**
October 11, 2016