Just three days ago, 18 Cinema Lane received 175 followers! It still amazes me how successful this blog has become in such a short amount of time. To all of my followers, thank you for exceeding my expectations! You are the reason why 18 Cinema Lane keeps going! As I was about to find a movie that premiered in January of 2003, I realized I had a 2003 release on my DVR. Even though A Time to Remember first aired in November, I thought it would be a good choice for this particular review! I’ve been taking advantage of UP Network’s decision to air older Hallmark films, as I have been trying to see as many of them as realistically possible. Also, the last time I reviewed a Hallmark movie for a blog follower dedication review was last July, when I talked about a Western called Desolation Canyon. Before I end this introduction, I’d like to share that this is my 150th movie review! I’ll be publishing a special post to commemorate this achievement in early to mid-February, as there are some blog posts I’d like to publish before the end of January.
Things I liked about the film:
The acting: While the cast in this film was good, the two stand-out performances came from Doris Roberts and Dana Delany! I’m more familiar with Doris’ comedic talents on Everybody Loves Raymond. Because a show like that mostly relies on humor, there aren’t many opportunities for the actors and actresses to pull off any dramatic performances. As I was watching A Time to Remember, I was very impressed with Doris’ portrayal of Maggie Calhoun! What stood out to me was how Doris’ eyes contained emotion throughout the movie, even when Maggie was experiencing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Any time I see an actor’s performance, I always focus on their eyes to determine how much emotion is in them. For me, this usually makes or breaks the quality of an actor’s talents. This aspect of Doris’ performance not only helped bring a sense of realism to her character, but it also made her portrayal of Maggie effective. As for Dana, she displayed a variety of emotions in her portrayal of Britt Calhoun. What worked in her favor was how well she was able to seamlessly transition between these emotions. In a scene where Britt and her friend are sitting by a pond, Britt is happy to be spending time with this friend one minute and then overwhelmed at being a single parent the next. Similar to Doris’ performance, Britt felt realistic as a character because of the quality of Dana’s acting talents!
How exposition was incorporated: Hallmark movies usually devote the first twenty minutes to delivering the exposition to their audience. This is done through lengthy conversation or drawn out montages. In A Time to Remember, the exposition was brief, subtle, and wasn’t just reserved for the beginning of the movie. Towards the middle of the film, the backstory of Billy, portrayed by Louise Fletcher, is revealed in a conversation with Britt. What Billy shares provides enough information for the audience to know this character to a satisfying extent. Another way that exposition was incorporated was through natural sounding dialogue. In a phone conversation between Britt and Valetta, portrayed by Megan Gallagher, the audience learns about the strained relationship between Britt and her mother. Through tone of voice and specific choices of words, it also reveals how the sisters view one another. The conversation itself sounds typical, but realistic. It also lasts long enough to get straight to the point.
The horse-riding scene: In one scene, Britt is riding horses with her childhood friend. I really liked this scene because of how well it was executed! It starts with a beautiful sunrise, which was simply picturesque. The locations surrounding the characters, from a grassy field to an isolated pond, appeared peaceful and serene. Their appearance is the result of how well they were captured on film! Speaking of film, the horses were sometimes filmed in slow-motion when they were running. This made them look majestic and powerful! All of these elements helped create a scene that was truly memorable!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Too many storylines: A Time to Remember contained six major stories. Personally, I think this was too many for one script. Because of this creative choice, it felt like all six stories were competing against each other to win the attention of the viewers. It also felt like there wasn’t enough time for each story to be fleshed out. This caused their conflicts to be resolved way too quickly and easily. Just one example is Valetta and Julian’s marital issues. The script tries to accomplish too much in two hours.
The discussion of Alzheimer’s: Historically, Hallmark has incorporated serious, real-life issues into their films. A Time to Remember attempts to shed light on the complicated and life-altering condition of Alzheimer’s. While I commend this movie’s creative team for addressing this particular medical situation, I think this discussion could have been executed better. For most of the film, the members of Britt’s family are either hiding Maggie’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis from Britt or trying to find the right time to tell her about the diagnosis. This makes the script look like it is unintentionally skirting the issue. This also ends up doing a disservice to the audience, especially those who have been affected by Alzheimer’s in some fashion. When Alzheimer’s is finally acknowledged in the story, within the last forty minutes, the characters’ conversations consist of talking about a game plan instead of actually coming up with one. These discussions didn’t feel productive or proactive.
The small presence of Thanksgiving: On my list of The Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time, I talked about a movie called A Family Thanksgiving. One of the reasons why I don’t like this movie is because of how few references the Thanksgiving holiday received in that story. A Time to Remember, unfortunately, makes the exact same mistake. Throughout the movie, Thanksgiving is barely brought up by the characters. The story itself doesn’t really make a big deal out of the special occasion. The film’s last thirty minutes is when Thanksgiving finally gets the recognition it deserves. This aspect of the movie disappointed me because I was hoping this holiday would be given more emphasis in the story, similar to An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving or any of Hallmark’s Christmas films. If A Time to Remember took place in any other time of year, it wouldn’t change that much.
My overall impression:
A Time to Remember made me feel the same way When Calls the Heart: Home for Christmas did, as both films tried to say so much, but ended up saying so little. Another thing these films have in common is how they have too many stories featured in their respective scripts. For A Time to Remember, this choice hurt the film’s potential impact on its audience. Personally, I think the movie should have kept its primary focus on Maggie receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. This way, the story could have explored the idea of finding adversity, hope, and the love of family in a time of hardship and uncertainty. It also doesn’t help that Thanksgiving plays such a minor role in this film. Since the three women of the Calhoun family, Maggie, Britt, and Valetta, are mothers, it would have made more sense for this movie to have been Mother’s Day themed. This choice would have better reflected the landscape of the project, as all the locations in this film looked more like springtime than autumn. It also would have been better reflected through the film’s messages and themes.
Overall score: 6.1 out of 10
Have you watched any of the films from UP Network’s current collection? Are there any older Hallmark films you’d like to me to review? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!