Here at 18 Cinema Lane, I talk about Hallmark films quite a bit. So, it makes sense that I would choose to review Bottled with Love! This is not the first time I have talked about this film, as I reported on this movie in a Word on the Street story two months ago. I also shared my thoughts on the film’s synopsis in another Word on the Street story from last month. There are two reasons why I wanted to see this movie; 1.) Because, for some reason, Hallmark decided to over-hype this movie by claiming that it’s “the best movie you’ll see all year”, so I wanted to see if this movie could live up to Hallmark’s hype and 2.) In the When Calls the Heart Behind-the-Scenes featurette that I talked about in this month’s Word on the Street story, Erin Krakow said she would be making an announcement during the film. Did Bottled with Love meet Hallmark’s expectations? What was Erin’s announcement about? Find out the answer to both of these questions by reading this review!
Things I liked about the film:
- The acting: For the most part, the acting performances in this film were good! As usual, Andrew Walker delivers a performance that appears natural and believable. No matter if he’s given a starring role or a supporting character, Andrew always finds a way to shine in every project he’s cast in! I also liked Bethany Brown’s performance! Her portrayal of Abbey’s friend, Elaine, was such a joy to watch, as her on-screen personality helped make this character likable. This is also the same way I felt about Frances Flanagan’s performance as Aunt Frances. The acting within Bottled with Love was entertaining to watch!
- The cinematography: I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality of Bottled with Love’s cinematography! There were a few scenes where the sun reflected off objects, such as the bottle that Abbey’s message was placed in. I thought the incorporation of the scene’s natural light was very interesting. The use of close-ups in this film was interesting as well. This is something that Hallmark doesn’t often do in their films, so the close-ups of some of the actors’ faces was something that I wasn’t expecting. While watching Bottled with Love, I felt like I watching a feature film!
- Some of the film’s unique touches: When I first shared the synopsis for this film a month ago, I talked about how I thought the story sounded interesting because of the amount of creativity that was being presented. As I watched Bottled with Love, I found a few unique touches in the movie that I really liked! The aspect of the message in a bottle is something that Hallmark doesn’t often include in their films, so it was nice to see some creativity incorporated into this story. I also liked seeing an apple orchard during the spring season instead of the fall season. I’ve never seen a “Spring Fever” movie feature an apple orchard, so I thought that was a unique approach to this particular story!
What I didn’t like about the film:
- Weak on-screen chemistry: While both Bethany Joy Lenz and Andrew Walker gave a good acting performance, I did not think their on-screen chemistry was very strong. Sure, it was ok. But I’ve seen stronger on-screen chemistry from other on-screen couples in recent Hallmark films. During Bottled with Love, I never sensed an on-screen spark between Bethany and Andrew. This made the romantic aspect of the story seem a little less believable.
- An inconsistent pace: Throughout Bottled with Love, I found the overall pace to be inconsistent. Some scenes felt more drawn-out than others, which caused them to feel a little bit boring. I noticed this happened in the scenes that took place at the office, whenever Abbey and Nick were at work.
- Lack of mystery: In Bottled with Love, the audience knew the entire time who found Abbey’s message in a bottle. This is the same problem that My Secret Valentine had, where the identity of the protagonist’s secret admirer should have been kept a secret until the last few minutes of the film. Had Bottled with Love kept the identity of Abbey’s pen pal a mystery for not only the protagonist, but also for the audience, I feel that it would have made this story more intriguing.
My overall impression:
For a short while now, Hallmark has been over-hyping Bottled with Love. They claimed that it will be “the best movie you’ll see all year” and had one of the stars of the movie say that critics are describing the film as an “instant classic”. After looking past all of the hype, I discovered that the film was just decent. Bottled with Love felt no different from any other Hallmark movie. In fact, it almost felt like a repeat of My Secret Valentine. By Hallmark choosing to over-hype this movie, I think, to a certain extent, it hurt the credibility of the film. Now, on to Erin’s announcement, the moment Hearties have been waiting for! It was nice to hear Erin Krakow say that When Calls the Heart will be receiving a seventh season! While I’m not surprised by this news, I am glad that the show will continue.
Overall score: 7.2 out of 10
Have you seen Bottled with Love? How do you feel about this news relating to When Calls the Heart? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!