Take 3: Truly, Madly, Sweetly Review

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!

Truly Madly Sweetly poster
Truly, Madly, Sweetly poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Truly%2c+Madly%2c+Sweetly

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.

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Cupcake with hearts image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/delicious-cupcakes-illustrations_779154.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/food”>Food vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

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.

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Bakery image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/facade-bakery-shop_845112.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/vintage”>Vintage vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

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!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: The Sweetest Heart Review

Now that spring is here, I wanted to celebrate by reviewing a spring themed movie. There are several options that I could have gone with for this particular post. However, I decided to review The Sweetest Heart because I haven’t reviewed a Hallmark movie since last month. Hallmark has made several good spring themed movies over the years, from last year’s The Perfect Catch to one of my favorites, Hearts of Spring. But ever since Hallmark started their “Spring Fever” line-up in 2016 (originally called “Spring Fling”), the first movie to start off the line-up has been, in my opinion, very mixed. I really liked All Yours, but I thought Love at First Bark was just decent. Where does The Sweetest Heart rank? Find out in my review of this movie!

The Sweetest Heart poster
The Sweetest Heart poster image created Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Poster image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=The%20Sweetest%20Heart&IsSeries=False

Things I liked about the film:

  • The acting: In The Sweetest Heart, the acting from the cast was good. But there are two actors that were the stand-outs: Julie Gonzalo and Andrea Brooks. Julie has shined on the Hallmark Channel since her debut in Pumpkin Pie Wars! Even when a movie isn’t that good (Falling for Vermont, in my opinion), Julie still pulls off a great performance. Her performance in The Sweetest Heart did not disappoint as it was one of the highlights of this film! Andrea becoming a regular cast member on When Calls the Heart is one of the best things to happen to that show. Since she guest starred on When Calls the Heart in 2015, she has also appeared in several movies for the Hallmark Channel. Andrea’s acting talents have impressed me every time I’ve seen her films. It makes me wish that she would get a lead role in a Hallmark movie.

 

  • The on-screen chemistry: I really liked the on-screen chemistry between Julie Gonzalo and Chris McNally! In fact, their on-screen chemistry was better than Julie’s and Victor Zinck Jr.’s on-screen chemistry. The relationship between Maddie and Nate seemed real as well as believable. Their interactions were well written and well-acted! From humorous to endearing, watching Maddie and Nate’s story was very entertaining.

 

  • Focus on the cupcakes: The last time we got a Hallmark movie that was either centered around cupcakes or a business that creates cupcakes is Operation Cupcake from 2012. I really liked how Hallmark took a story element that hasn’t been told in a while and incorporated it into one of their newer films. This allows for more stories to be shared as well as more creativity to be adopted by Hallmark. As a fan of Hallmark, I always get excited when Hallmark brings new ideas to the table. While the concept of a cupcake bakery is not new, it is a story point that is getting re-purposed.
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Cupcake with hearts image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/delicious-cupcakes-illustrations_779154.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/food”>Food vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

  • A pace that was inconsistent: Though this didn’t happen throughout the entire movie, there were a few times when scenes felt longer than they were originally intended. Also, there were a few scenes that seemed a little too fast-paced.

 

  • Too many storylines: The Sweetest Heart had six plots during the course of two hours. However, two of these plots, the story of Maddie and Alex’s relationship and the community center fundraiser, were simply pointless. In fact, if these two plots were excluded from this movie, it wouldn’t have any impact. Also, the story of Tammy Gillis’s and Clayton Chitty’s characters, Sarah and Luke, could have been made into its own movie.

 

My overall impression:

The Sweetest Heart was a decent film. While there were good things about the movie, there were also not-so-good things about it. Looking back on this movie, I noticed a pattern. I’ve now seen all three of the Hallmark movies that started off each Hallmark movie line-up (Love on the Slopes, My Secret Valentine, and The Sweetest Heart) and, in my opinion, they all have been decent. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel about the rest of the starting films in the upcoming movie line-ups, especially for Christmas. I also wonder which movie from the “Spring Fever” line-up will end up being my favorite. Until then, I will watch each movie with an open mind and I might review some of them for 18 Cinema Lane!

 

Overall score: 7 out of 10

 

Have you seen The Sweetest Heart? What did you think about the film? Please let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen