This one started out strongly. I liked Kimberley Sue Murray in Love Upstream. There’s something about curly red hair… and she was very funny and likable. The hero I wasn’t familiar with, but I liked his down-to-earth normal guy looks. It appeared that it was going to go out of the box a bit as there was a bit of a very subtle Christian theme, and the heroine is seen getting alarming dizzy spells and popping prescription pills. Hmmmm… this might be interesting.
Vanessa (Murray) is an artist who gets commissions to paint murals on hospital walls that she doesn’t charge for. She is famous and acclaimed and travels all over the country. She is working on a mural for a children’s wing that Nate designed and she overhears him saying he isn’t sure it fits in with his vision. OOOh, them’s fightin’ words. She spunkily tells him the mural is not for him but for the sick children. Good one, Vanessa! Of course, he apologizes and they make up and the love story commences. We learn through flashbacks that she had cancer and was very close with another cancer patient who died. The dead one is her “guardian angel” and she also left Vanessa a trust fund and a list of activities (take tango lessons, go rock climbing, go scuba diving, take a cooking class, fall in love, get married, stuff like that) to live life to the fullest. She shows him the list and he innocently calls it a bucket list. She freezes up. This is the first in a long line of her giving him the cold shoulder over something she takes offense to or some innocent infraction of her precious privacy.
Things go downhill from there, for me. Despite feeling the attraction and connection (whenever she is by herself she swans around and simpers with happiness at the thought of him) she often acts standoffish and demanding when with him. She will not share and is so closed off and secretive about her past that he thinks she is dying rather than recovering from an illness. He himself is just recovering from a divorce because his wife cheated on him. So he is vulnerable and not into secrets. When he finds her passed out on the floor, a side effect of her medication, he begs her to open herself up and let him in. She states petulantly that she is not ready and says something along the lines of “it is her prerogative and her life to live as she pleases.” When he replies, “Well I’ll leave you to it then,” and leaves, I almost cheered. She sees she went a little too far with her mess and apologizes.
Her nonsensical hot and cold behavior continues until it all comes to a head. He finds out his ex-wife, who refused to have children with him, is pregnant. He is hurt and angry and leaves town to take care of a building emergency in Boston. Finally sick and tired of Vanessa’s predilection to take offense at every little thing and lack of openness, trust, and honesty, he cuts her off. Meanwhile, she learns she has a clean bill of health and accepts another commission in Vermont. He comes back, and she is sulky about his treatment of her (even though she tells his mother she doesn’t blame him) and he APOLOGIZES AGAIN. But of course, she has to torture him some more before she finally “forgives” him. I swear, he is a glutton for punishment because they get married. In the end, I positively hated her which is why I gave this a failing grade despite its strong points. Shout out to Kelly Bishop of the Gilmore girls who played Nate’s mother, the misguided matchmaker.
February 24, 2022