With Hallmark’s “Fall Harvest” line-up finally here, I figured I should get started with reviewing some of these films! Since Ron Oliver is directing this year’s Hallmark Hall of Fame Christmas movie, Christmas Everlasting (yes, the movie got a title change) and since I talked about Truly, Madly, Sweetly in a Word on the Street post back in April, I thought reviewing this movie would be a great place to start! In that post, I mentioned that Dylan Neal, one of the stars of the film, hinted at a fall release date for Truly, Madly, Sweetly. Because this movie is the very first movie in this year’s “Fall Harvest” line-up, it looks like it got a fall release date after all. Out of all the Hallmark Channel movies premiering during the fall season, Truly, Madly, Sweetly is the movie I was anticipating the most, especially since the story reminded me of the first All of My Heart movie (which I really enjoyed). Did Truly, Madly, Sweetly meet or exceed my expectations? Let’s keep reading to find out!
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: The cast in Truly, Madly, Sweetly was really good! I’ve seen Nikki Deloach’s performance in The Perfect Catch, so I knew she had what it takes, talent wise, to lead a Hallmark movie. Once again, Nikki gave a really good performance, but in her second lead role in a Hallmark movie outside of the Christmas season this time. Her portrayal of Natalie appeared very natural and versatile. I’ve also seen Dylan Neal’s performances in the Gourmet Detective series as well as on Cedar Cove. For his first lead role in a Hallmark Channel movie outside of the Christmas season, I think Dylan gave a really good portrayal of his character, Eric. Dylan brought a good amount of believability to his role that truly added to the enjoyment of his performance.
The on-screen chemistry: As I’ve already mentioned, Nikki Deloach and Dylan Neal gave really good performances individually. They also gave a good performance as an on-screen pair. Nikki and Dylan’s on-screen chemistry came across very believably in the film. Because of this, it truly felt like Natalie and Eric’s relationship was growing. I definitely would like to see Nikki and Dylan star in another Hallmark movie together!
The story: Before I saw Truly, Madly, Sweetly, I knew there was going to be similarities between this movie and All of My Heart. As I was watching Truly, Madly, Sweetly, I noticed there were more differences than similarities between these movies. For instance, Eric and Natalie are enthusiastic about the idea of working together to restore the bakery within the first half of the movie. Meanwhile, in All of My Heart, it takes Brian and Jenny the entire movie to figure out what they are going to do about Emily’s house. There are other things within Truly, Madly, Sweetly that made the story feel unique from other Hallmark movies with a similar story, such as Natalie’s cupcake food truck and the inherited business being a bakery.
“Easter Eggs” from the director: On social media, Ron Oliver has mentioned that he likes to put “Easter Eggs” in his films that relate to his dog, Crawford T. Manchester. In Truly, Madly, Sweetly, the daughter’s school was named ‘Crawford T, Manchester Elementary’. In another scene, there was a wine bottle with Crawford’s picture on the label and the wine was called ‘Straight Outta Palm Springs’ (a location Ron mentioned in an Instagram post featuring Crawford). Small details like these add character and a unique touch to the film, giving audience members who are familiar with Ron’s directing work something to look forward to.
What I didn’t like about the film:
A slower pace: In Truly, Madly, Sweetly, the pace was slower than in most Hallmark Channel movies. Because of this, it made the story feel longer than it might have been intended. For example, it took more than half the movie for the characters to start renovating the bakery. Personally, I think the bakery renovation should have happened at the film’s half-way point.
Minimal use of the fall theme: Even though Truly, Madly, Sweetly is a part of Hallmark’s “Fall Harvest” line-up, it felt like the fall season theme didn’t have as much of a presence as it could have had. While there were fall inspired decorations within the film as well as a fall festival at the daughter’s school, the overall theme of fall appeared as an extra in the movie. None of the characters in Truly, Madly, Sweetly seemed to pay much attention to what season was supposed to be portrayed throughout the film. If this story were placed in any other movie line-up from Hallmark, it wouldn’t have made a difference.
My overall impression:
Truly, Madly, Sweetly was a good start to this year’s “Fall Harvest” line-up! Excluding the Christmas line-up, because it hasn’t premiered yet, the start of the “Fall Harvest” line-up is the strongest out of all the seasonal line-ups that have premiered on Hallmark Channel this year! While there were little references to the fall season in this movie, the film has more merits than flaws. Truly, Madly, Sweetly has gotten me even more excited for Christmas Everlasting because of Ron Oliver’s involvement in this film! From the “Easter Eggs” to the dialogue, everything felt like it has handled with great care and effort. I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of the “Fall Harvest” films and it will be interesting to see which one ends up being my favorite.
Overall score: 7.8 out of 10
Did you see Truly, Madly, Sweetly? Are you enjoying “Fall Harvest” so far? Please tell me in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!