This production was blessed by the good acting on the part of Cameron Mathison and Elizabeth Mitchell. They made a good match, and the story was very romantic. A slow development of their relationship with more than a hint of magic provided by the wonderful Gabrielle Rose. Two strangers, both missing true romantic love in their lives, team up to help a little old lady who lost her Christmas Club money. They give her $40.00, and from then on, magic follows them, and brings them together. It was something a little different from the typical cookie cutter offerings from Hallmark. It had some very imaginative and heartwarming plot points. Elizabeth was a little over-sensitive in parts; a little too fragile, but I guess that was her character. They did not drag the misunderstandings out too long. Probably not a re-watch, but I enjoyed it.
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 it 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.
This should Cement Ali Liebert’s Place in the Hallmark Pantheon of Female Leads
After several turns as “the best friend” of the heroine, where she has all but out shown the leads, Ali Liebert has finally been getting much deserved leading roles in these Hallmark seasonal romances. This one is the best yet. Kudos to Hallmark for recognizing her appeal and giving her prominent roles. I hope she becomes as ubiquitous as Chabert, Reiser, Boston, Polo, and several others.
This one is also helped by a tightly woven plot, good character development, and an attractive leading man who has a real arc into becoming (or being revealed as) a good guy after all. I must quibble at this point over one plot hole. Our hero, a diva chef, has his career almost ruined by a viral video of him throwing food on a restaurant critic in a fit of temper. He reveals later that the video edited out the fact that prior to the food on the lap incident, the victim had made his waitress cry by being so mean to her. Why didn’t he just explain that on Facebook or Twitter? Instead of needing an image rehabilitation, he becomes a hero. It is also absent some of the overdone stupid gimmicks that most of these Hallmarks seem to hinge on. No angels, City bad, country good, factory shuttings, time travel, nor I Hate (just fill in the holiday). What keeps it from getting a higher rating from me is the lack of depth, suspense, pathos, or super hot chemistry between the leads. But it’s good. Really good.
Ali has the super nice girl who is maybe a little too nice role down pat. Plus she has the most energetic eyebrows I’ve ever seen. Very cute, if a bit distracting. Couldn’t take my eyes off of them.**8 out of 10 stars**