A Gift to Remember


I really enjoyed this one back in 2017, but I never reviewed it. It came up again during Christmas in July or Merry Movie Week or whatever so I decided to re-watch it. I am pleased to say it really held up.

 First off, it was based on an amnesia scenario and thus was able to avoid the city bad/country good rescue the whatever from the evil corporation,” Let’s go to or save the festival!” Hallmark tent poles. It was actually set in Philadelphia although it is debatable whether it was filmed there. Another point in its favor was that this featured an interracial secondary romance, fairly unusual in 2017 for Hallmark. Third and most important were the talents and charm of the two stars Ali Liebert and Peter Porte. Ali has been up and down with me depending on the state of her botox treatments. One of her main appeals is her unusually expressive eyebrows. So when her eyebrows are working, all is well. I know that sounds funny, but it’s true! This is early-ish in her Hallmark career and her first lead role in a Hallmark after languishing in the friend zone for a couple of years. Peter Porte’s acting chops are not up to Ali’s but he is too gorgeous to be real and he seems like a nice guy. They worked well together.

Ali plays Darcy, a shy and reticent bookstore employee who does not like to take chances or rock the boat. She accidentally runs over Peter Porte on her bike sending him into retrograde amnesia. She feels responsible because she is so nice and in her desire to help him regain his memory she starts uncovering clues to his background and identity. By doing this, she discovers she is persistent, a problem solver, and is willing to conquer the fears which are holding her back from going for the job as manager of the bookstore. She figures out that he is rich, has an important job in the literary world, doesn’t like Christmas, and is about to become engaged to his girlfriend. These conclusions make sense given the clues, but don’t make sense as she comes to know Aiden and don’t jive with his gradually returning memory either. So we have a little mystery going on as well as a roadblock to their growing attraction to each other.  When the truth comes out, it all makes perfect sense and all of the details are tied up. (He is single for one thing) Aiden’s real story results in a very nice ending with Darcy meeting his real family, and her little local bookstore triumphing over Mega-book’s ruthless machinations. And she gets promoted to manager. Ali Liebert just has a special spark in this, and she was just charming.

This part is really silly, but I really liked her make-up. It was pretty rather than glamorous until she had a fancy event to attend, and only then did she have the false eyelashes and the red lipstick. It seems like these days Hallmark actresses put on the Glamour Shots treatment just to walk the dog. Oh, the good old days of 2017.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

June 26, 2022

Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2

Disappointing Sequel to the Excellent A Gift to Remember

I was disappointed in Ali Liebert in this one. I loved her in A Gift to Remember, but there was just something different about her in this go-round. The character’s personality was just as sweet and overly nice, but she just didn’t connect with me and I can’t quite put my finger on it. (botox?) I found the character of Mrs. Henley very irritating as well. Ali is taking care of her nephew during the season because both of his parents are deployed. He was behaving like a perfectly nice if a little reserved kid, and she was all worried and hovering just because he didn’t behave all joyful and Christmas-y every second. She just wouldn’t rest until he conformed to her expectations of how happy he was supposed to be. She was not disappointed. The kid was bouncing off the walls by the end. I also think the young actor was miscast. Perhaps he was supposed to be adopted. Peter Porte was just fine. In fact, he kind of saved this one for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

November 27, 2019

Love at the Shore

In the South, It’s Not the “Shore”.

Let’s get one thing out of the way immediately. This movie is set and filmed on Tybee Island off the coast of Georgia and a short way from cultured, historical, and photogenic Savannah, Georgia. In the South, it’s called the beach, not the shore. We are farther away from New Jersey than just miles would indicate. Also, it’s too bad the producers could not take advantage of the beauty that is Savannah to set some scenes there. Just clueless.

This Hallmance just did not work for me. I thought Jenna, the female lead, seemed more like his mother that his love interest. I also found the character unlikable and unreasonable. She is at the beach, during the summer, and living in a duplex and she expects everyone else on vacation in her vicinity to cater to her need for quiet. She should have gone to a cabin in the mountains. There was no chemistry between the two leads. She was a mature and settled mother of 2, and he was, she thought, a happy-go-lucky beach bum. She didn’t consider him a possible match until she found out he was her very well-off landlord and the owner of a soon-to-be franchised summer camp. He was so handsome and prone to hanging around without a shirt, he looked more like a boy-toy than a potential father to her children. I didn’t like how she reacted when she found out this good smart guy was coaching her son, and didn’t like how he promised her son to be there for the swim meet and then just blew him off. It seemed very out of character and just manufactured to create some conflict. This was a by-the-numbers lazy effort. The kids and the dog were the only bright spots.**3 stars out of 10**

August 7, 2017