Love at Sunset Terrace

UPtv Gets it Right Again

This was a very well-done little story. Up TV, in recent days, is really showing up Hallmark in terms of fresh faces, well-written scripts, and character development. The three leads were more than half the appeal. Ellen Woglom was appealing and charming as the female lead. She has a killer smile and I appreciated that she did not have a stick-thin runway model body. Carlo Marx was handsome and likable as the vulnerable father who was over-protective and almost needy with his daughter. The young daughter was played by Erica Tremblay. Again, a young actress who was hired for her talent rather than cutesy-wutesy looks and perky sparkles. She is the younger sister of the multiple award-winning film actor, Jacob Tremblay.

The romantic relationship developed naturally and believably rather than a series of “meet-cutes” and fake instalove based on nothing but two pretty people snarking and bickering at each other. The setting looked like a real place rather than a McMansion plopped down in front of a stunning view. I’d stay there and feel right at home. The conflict was the same old same old (workaholic big city girl reconnects with nature while meeting troubled widowed Dad of young girl and presto chango lifestyles are changed and a new family is formed). But Up TV shows once again that this tired plot can be done in an entertaining and engaging way. Hallmark really should be upping their game. I fear they are have become over-reliant on their “big” name stable of actors and actresses at the expense of giving exciting young talent a chance to shine and scriptwriters who work hard to offer a quality product while still falling within the genre’s parameters.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

March 21, 2021

Making Spirits Bright

Nicely Done

This was a very sweet story with a lot of charm. Even though this was pretty low-key, it kept my interest throughout. Taylor Cole and Carlo Marks were excellent together. I’ve not always liked Taylor Cole, but she really came through as a small-town family-oriented girl, which is not a part one would usually associate with her. I don’t think I’ve seen a Christmas movie based on the business of decorating houses for Christmas. So although the Romeo and Juliet outline was pretty standard stuff, the background it is set against is unusual.

Grace and Tony are the offspring of two fathers who have been feuding for years. They were once close friends and partners in a Christmas decorating business but their differing work styles drove them apart. Tony’s father is a perfectionist which has caused him to miss deadlines and not get the job done. He puts art above money. Grace’s father is into efficiency and making a profit. They both enter the town’s Christmas decorating contest as competitors. However, in an effort to defeat a mutual enemy who emphasizes technology over heart and tradition,  they end up trying to work together.

There are some genuinely touching moments in this and romance is sweet, thanks to the chemistry between the two leads. The Romeo and Juliet romance is appealing as they go from uncertainty to friendship and then love. I loved the relationship of the two mothers, who have remained secret friends throughout their husbands’ feud. Also adding an interesting dynamic was the fraught relationship between Grace and her partner in their home-staging business.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

December 1, 2021