Hearts of Winter

Ho Hum Hallmark Elevated by the Cast and their Chemistry

The story and the writing is weak, although the interior decorating and shopping bits were mildly diverting. However thanks to the talented cast and the easy chemistry among all the actors, this one earns an 8 from me. Jill Wagner is a very good actress and she and Victor Webster make a great well-matched couple. Victor’s character Grant started out whiny and ungrateful, but he got over it fairly quickly. Lauren McNamara who played Grant’s daughter was also top-notch and has been in several other Hallmark movies. She gets the plot rolling buy winning a free house makeover from Bethany an up and coming Interior Designer. Brendan Zub has impressed me in other productions, but was under-used as Jill’s sensible and supportive brother. I would like to see him as the lead again in further Hallmark movies. Last and certainly not least is the cute and charismatic Rukiya Bernard, Jill’s friend and partner, who brightens every production she is in. Alas, still in the best friend role and not as the lead. Come on Hallmark! Give her a role worthy of her before she gets away. One thing I really liked about this romance is that it didn’t end with the deal-sealing smooch, like they all do, but went on to add a little postscript by having the cast wrap things up back at the redecorated home.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

January 26, 2020

A Harvest Wedding

Very Nice. And Breaks the Mold in a Few Instances

A Harvest Wedding was above average due to the likability and good acting of the leads, Jill Wagner and Victor Webster. They played age appropriate, mature, and sensible characters with good heads on their shoulders. Because of this, the plot was not packed with silly misunderstandings, stupid behavior, or battles between good and evil. Jill Wagner has a real Scarlett Johannsen thing going on, though much more down to earth looking. Victor Webster was almost too handsome, which made him an unlikely farmer, but his acting was good.

Jill played a wedding planner, Sarah, given the gig of a high profile society wedding which would really put her on the map career-wise. In addition, a prestigious wedding magazine is doing a piece on the wedding because of the prominence of the family involved despite the fact that the bride, a super nice down to earth girl, chose Jill over much more established wedding planners. To add to the complications, the bride does not want a super-fancy formal spectacle, but a simple country wedding at her fiance’s family farm. I liked that the mother of the bride was set up to be a momzilla, but knock me down with a feather, after a heart to heart talk with Sarah and her daughter, she stepped up and helped give her daughter the wedding she wanted, not what fulfilled her own elite society wedding dreams.

In addition, the ending was a refreshing breath of fresh air. Without fail, In Hallmances, the big city career girl gives up all of her professional progress and achievements and moves to the country to be a wife. In this one, the farmer, thanks to his development of a method of roof top gardening, divides his time between the country and the city, allowing Sarah to pursue her dreams. This is a real departure for Hallmark. The final scene was a treat.**7 stars out of 10**

October 26, 2017

Home for Christmas Day

Tearjerker!

I never thought I would say that a Hallmark movie surprised me, but this one did. Twice! Basically this is a story of an over-protective mom, played very intelligently by Catherine Bell. She was left a young widow due to her own military husband dying in action. She has refused to open herself up to love with her friend, an extremely eligible and attractive man who is in love with her, due to her tough experience. Now she sees her own daughter, who has a bright future, possibly putting that in jeopardy and opening herself up to pain and heartache by her own budding romance with a soldier about to be deployed. The script is good, and is a good bit more daring and multi-layered than most Hallmarks. Bell’s character is over protective, but she never goes too far. I was never angry or too frustrated with her. This is partly because the daughter, Betsy, has a good head on her shoulders, and gives her Mom as good as she gets. The actors are great, all the way around. A special shout out goes to the casting of the young soldier. He was super appealing and this movie would not have been so affecting unless you were half in love with him yourself. He was the young man any Mom would hope for in a son, or would want a daughter to marry. And by the way. Pay attention to the title, I surprised I was so surprised by the ending. **9 out of 10 stars**

July 30, 2017