Five More Minutes: Moments Like These

Five More Minutes: Take Two. Will there be Three?

This is one of those dramatic heartfelt Hallmarks that show on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. It is a follow-up to last year’s production based on the country song, Five More Minutes. In both, a grieving person gets 5 more minutes with a dead loved one. It looks like it may be an annual thing. I gave the first one 8 out of 10 stars, and I gave this one the same rating.

Ashley Williams is on a roll with me. She plays Kaitlin, a still-grieving widow of a 10-year-old boy, her husband having died 4 years earlier in a car wreck. Her performance was considerably toned down from her old Miss Perky McPerkison energy. She should play brave grieving widows more often. She still flashes that killer smile, but you know what? The girl can’t help it. There is some concern about her son, who though a nice kid, has become more and more withdrawn and introverted since his father’s death. Kaitlin goes home to Colorado from Los Angeles to spend Christmas with her husband’s family and decide what to do with her beloved home which has been vacant for the last 4 years.  She has received a very tempting job offer from a regular client but she would have to relocate to London.

While at a local Christmas fair, she meets a nice handsome man, Matthew, who it turns out was an old schoolmate and friend of her husband. They really hit it off, but the relationship suffers a blow when he fails to disclose that he is the representative of a huge corporation that covets her house and land. Luckily for their budding romance/friendship, her trust is restored with his explanation, apology, contrition, and his very positive relationship with her son. Also, in a clear conflict of interest, he is helping her to fix up the house in order for her to get the best price possible from his employer or another party. This seemed very shady to me.  His employer, who is also a friend and kind of worships the ground he walks on because of his honesty and integrity (?!) lets this go for some reason and in fact wants to hire him for his New York office.

Meanwhile, her son is having short encounters with progressively older boys every few days. They disappear mysteriously but not before leading him to friendship, community involvement, and finding his hidden talents.  He is finally healing and blossoming in this new community of Hollowford. Cameo Alert: Nikki Deloach as Clara Bingham, the art teacher and lead in the first Five More Minutes.

Everything comes to a head when she decides to sell the house to Matthew’s business partner for a ton of money and move to London. Things start to fall apart with her relationship with her son, who wants to stay in Hollowford,  the sale of the house, and her relationship with Matthew. She goes down to the basement in despair and what she sees there shows her that the boys her son has mentioned are none other than her dead husband coming back to help their son and who, in a  kind of spooky jump scare, then appears to her. They talk for 5 minutes.

The kid actor was fantastic with a layered, touching, and authentic performance in a part that could have been annoying. I can take or leave Lucas Bryant, but he made a good match with Ashley Williams.  I liked that when Matthew and Kaitlin felt that surge of sexual attraction, they actually admit and knowledge that to each other openly. That is actually quite unusual for Hallmark couples to do. Usually, they just gaze soulfully or have an almost kiss which is not attempted again until the very end. The owner of the development company that had a signed contract on Kaitlin’s house, did something at the end for no good reason. It was weird and made no sense. Nevertheless, I could watch another one of these Five More Minutes movies with no hesitation whatsoever. It’s a good concept, and so far they have been well done.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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

Merry In-Laws

Enjoyably Screwball

A young mother from a scientific background who abjures anything fantastical gets herself engaged to Santa Claus’s son. And she doesn’t even like Video Games. This was cute, funny, and a nice romance. It was interesting to see Lucas Bryant in a more light-hearted role. Lately he has been playing the sullen, strong, silent types. Shelley Long was way over the top in my opinion, but I couldn’t help laughing. Also there were a few truly badly behaved, even hateful characters (her father) in this one which added some tension to the comedy.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

November 20, 2020

Country at Heart

Above Average, But didn’t Quite Make it to Re-watchable

I am a Niall Matter fan and a Jessy Schram fan so this had a little bit more going for it. Add a plot that is a bit off the usual template, and it should have been a big winner. It wasn’t. But it was definitely above average. The Lucas Bryant plot line was interesting and added a bit of suspense. Was he going to be even a bigger jerk than he started off as, or would he turn over a new leaf? An 8 star and above Hallmark, for me, is one I will watch again. This did not earn that 8th star. Perhaps it was the lack of humor. Lack of focus? Lack of a really bad villain or real charm in the characters. The characters were lack-luster. Not talking about the actors.

And one more thing. Jessy is a TERRIBLE singer, bless her heart. But I seem to be in the minority opinion there. When she was doing her audition, I thought they were making her bad on purpose for the plot. But nope. Niall wasn’t great either, but he wasn’t really supposed to be.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

October 4, 2020