Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone who visits this blog! In honor of the holiday, I’ve decided to review a movie that would be fitting for the occasion. Since Hallmark has already started their “Countdown to Valentine’s Day” line-up, I had a few options to choose from. I chose My Secret Valentine because of two reasons. The first is I’ve seen both Lacey Chabert and Andrew Walker perform on Hallmark before, having enjoyed several of their films. The second is the concept of a Valentine themed story taking place at a vineyard, something Hallmark has never done before. So, break out the candy and sprinkle the red glitter, it’s time for me to review My Secret Valentine!
Things I liked about the film:
- The acting: This movie had a good cast overall. The two stand-out performers, though, were Lacey and Andrew. Both of them are not only talented individually, but also as a pair. When Lacey’s character, Chloe, is talking to her dad about how she belongs at the vineyard, I felt that Lacey gave a very powerful yet believable performance, one of the best that she’s given in any of her Hallmark films. Andrew’s performance did not disappoint either. When he spoke in a Texan accent to a restaurant owner and when he pretended to speak Finnish to a local business owner, I was blown away by the amount of talent that Andrew truly possessed. Lacey Chabert and Andrew Walker are two of the best actors in the Hallmark community! As a fan of Hallmark, I’m very grateful to receive a movie starring either Lacey or Andrew almost every year.
- The on-screen chemistry: Lacey and Andrew’s on-screen chemistry was spot on! Their acting abilities complemented one another as the movie progressed. The best scene in this movie was when Chloe and Seth were watching the sunset from Chloe’s truck. Chloe and Seth’s interaction came across very realistically, their conversation appeared life-like. When Seth was talking about his father, I truly felt bad for him, with Andrew pulling off a portrayal that effectively conveyed those emotions. Chloe’s reaction was, to me, believable, as I felt like I was reacting alongside her. I hope that Lacey and Andrew can star in a Hallmark movie together again. Maybe in a Christmas movie? Or a Hallmark Hall of Fame film?
- The scenery: My Secret Valentine has nice scenery to look at. The overhead shots of the vineyard were just gorgeous! I also liked the interior designs of the cabin and the winery store. The cabin looked like an adorable vacation home, a place that appeared inviting! The look and atmosphere of the winery store was very appealing as well. From the dark wood of the counter-tops to the dim lights at night-time, the winery store gave off a welcoming and romantic vibe.
What I didn’t like about the film:
- The plot: This wasn’t a bad story, but it was formulaic. If you’ve seen enough Hallmark movies (like I have), you will notice several story elements in this movie that have been used in other Hallmark movies. Some examples of this are:
- One of the main characters having a deceased parent prior to the events of the movie
- A local festival taking place during the events of the movie
- The main characters not liking each other at first, but then becoming friendly toward each other as the movie goes on
- The main characters kissing at the end of the movie
- The mystery: I thought that the reveal of “Handyman’s” identity was very obvious. Because this reveal happened way too early in the film, it seemed like the interactivity of having the audience solve the mystery alongside Chloe was removed. Mystery stories are typically not found in movies on Hallmark Channel, but this would not be the first time it has happened (example: My Christmas Love).
- The ending: The end of My Secret Valentine was too abrupt and open-ended for a stand-alone Hallmark film. It left me with too many questions than answers. I also felt like Chloe’s reaction to finding out “Handyman’s” identity was not very realistic. I’m guessing if this scenario happened in real life, Chloe would be more upset than she appeared in the film.
My overall impression:
My Secret Valentine was a decent but formulaic film. This is not one of Lacey’s/Andrew’s best movies, but definitely not one of their worst. Both Andrew and Lacey pulled off fantastic performances and their on-screen chemistry was great too! I hope that Lacey and Andrew can work on more Hallmark productions together. I also hope that Hallmark can move away from their usual story-telling formulas and incorporate more creativity into their movies.
Overall score: 7 out of 10
Have you seen My Secret Valentine? If so, what did you think? Please let know in the comment section below!
Have fun at the movies!