Take 3: Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen Review

So, I was originally going to publish my blog follower dedication review, in honor of receiving 160 followers, today. But, yesterday, I ended up watching the most recent film from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen. Because of this unexpected change of plans, I will publish my blog follower dedication review on December 8th and my review of Christmas at Dollywood on December 10th. I’m still planning on posting my review for Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Happy Holidays Blogathon this weekend. Now that I am talking about Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, this means that I have now reviewed all of Hallmark’s Christmas movies that were inspired by the works of Jane Austen. Two of the films I reviewed in 2018 were Christmas at Pemberley Manor and Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe. While I enjoyed the first movie, I was not a fan of the second one. Since Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen premiered on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and was based on a different Jane Austen story, I was curious to see if this film differed from the previous two entries from Hallmark Channel. I also wanted to see if this movie did a better job at adapting the source material than the other films.

Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen poster
Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen poster created by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Crown Media Family Networks. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=986&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Sense,%20Sensibility%20and%20Snowmen&IsSeries=False.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: For the most part, I thought the acting was good! I have enjoyed watching Erin Krakow’s acting performances through her various Hallmark projects. In Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, she gave one of the best performances I’ve seen from her collection of Hallmark films! She was very expressive in her role of Ella, displaying various emotions throughout the movie. Erin also brought a likeable personality to her character, allowing me to stay invested in her part of the story. I also enjoyed seeing Luke Macfarlane’s performance in this movie! He did a really good job at portraying the serious and charming nature of his character, Edward. Because of this, it made the character’s transformation during the movie feel believable. It’s always nice to see Kimberley Sustad appear in a Hallmark movie! Her portrayal of Marianne was a delight, providing a different personality to counteract the personality of Erin’s character. This allowed Kimberley’s performance to be memorable and entertaining!


The on-screen chemistry: This was the first time that Erin and Luke starred in a Hallmark movie together. Despite this, I thought they had pretty good on-screen chemistry! The interactions between Ella and Edward were very sweet. Because of the acting abilities of Erin and Luke, the development of their on-screen relationship came across as convincing. While watching this film, it felt like these characters and these actors enjoyed each other’s company. This definitely added to their on-screen chemistry! I also thought that Kimberley and Jason McKinnon, who portrayed Edward’s cousin, Brandon, had good on-screen chemistry! Even though their on-screen relationship wasn’t featured in the movie for long, it was nice to see it unfold on-screen.


The dynamic between the Dashwood sisters: In Hallmark films, the dynamic between the protagonist and their sibling is not often showcased as an essential part of the story. It is usually featured as part of a subplot or barely explored. For Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, this dynamic between Ella and Marianne Dashwood played a huge role within the overall narrative. Because the personality of these characters was different, it made their interactions very interesting to watch. They were able to use their individual perspectives and experiences to help one another when it came to solving their problems. It was a joy to watch these characters bond, as they created moments that were funny and sweet! This dynamic provided an interesting component to the overall film!

Christmas snowman image created by Freepik at freepik.com  <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/christmas-tree”>Christmas tree vector created by Freepik</a> <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/set-of-pretty-christmas-tags_1337932.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a> Image created by freepik.com

What I didn’t like about the film:

Lack of urgency: Throughout the movie, Ella and her event planning firm were tasked with planning a party in less than two weeks. However, Ella is seen doing everything but plan the party. Sure, we do see her talk to Edward about picking a theme and seating arrangements. But Ella acts like she has a lot of free time on her hands, engaging in activities such as decorating Edward’s home and making gingerbread houses. Because of this lack of urgency, I wasn’t able to take the overarching conflict seriously.


No subplots: In any movie, subplots can help a main story move forward and add a sense of intrigue. In Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, the primary plot was the only one that was featured in the movie. While Ella’s sister, Marianne, forms a romantic relationship with Edward’s cousin, she wasn’t given her own story. Meanwhile, the main plot was too simple and straight-forward, leaving little to no room for intrigue. Having one or two subplots would have helped this film gain some interesting story-telling elements.


Little resemblance to the Sense and Sensibility story: Last year, when I reviewed Christmas at Pemberley Manor and Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, I said that the little resemblance to the Pride and Prejudice story was the biggest flaw of both films. Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen also makes this mistake with its weak attempt at bringing the Sense and Sensibility story to life. I’ve never read Sense and Sensibility, so I had to look up the synopsis on the internet. Based on what I read, it seems like the only resemblance to the story that was found in this movie was the names of the protagonist and her sister. Just by watching Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen, it felt less like a Jane Austen adaptation and more like a run-on-the-mill, typical Hallmark film.

Group of Christmas figures image created by Pikisuperstar at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/christmas”>Christmas vector created by Pikisuperstar – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/hand-drawn-cute-christmas-character_3188970.htm’>Designed by Pikisuperstar</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

While this movie was better than Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, I don’t think Sense, Sensibility and Snowmen was better than Christmas at Pemberley Manor. At best, I found it to be just ok. Even though this story was character-driven, that shouldn’t be an excuse to not provide an interesting narrative. I did like the acting and relationships these characters shared. But, at the end of the day, what makes or breaks a movie is how good the story is. In the introduction of my Christmas Under the Stars review, I mentioned that most of Hallmark’s Christmas movies this year are ok or decent. Now, I’ve seen 21 of their films and I still feel the same way. For me, part of the issue is how Hallmark reuses the exact same plots with slight variations. I understand that the network has an image and a reputation to uphold. However, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t try to tell new kinds of stories. Since both networks’ ratings are lower this Christmas season than last year, it looks like Hallmark needs to keep that idea in mind.


Overall score: 6.1 out of 10


Do you agree with my thoughts on both of Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups? Are there any Christmas films that have been your favorite this year? Let me know in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe Review

I will be one of the first people to admit that, this year, I have been failing at keeping up with Hallmark’s Christmas movies. So far, I have only seen three of Hallmark’s newly released Christmas offerings. But, by reviewing Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, this short list will have grown to four movies. Because of this review, I have now seen both of the Hallmark Christmas movies that feature a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice. What got me interested in seeing this film is the character reversals that take place within this story. For example, instead of Mr. Darcy, we have a female protagonist named Darcy. This role reversal reminded me of one of my favorite Hallmark movies, Midnight Masquerade, so I was willing to give Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe a chance. Do I think this movie was better than Christmas at Pemberley Manor? I’m glad you came to this review because you’re about to find out!

Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe poster
Pride, Prejudice and Mistletoe 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=Pride%2c+Prejudice%2c+and+Mistletoe.

Things I liked about the film:

Lacey and Brendan’s performances: Whenever Lacey Chabert is cast in a Hallmark movie, you know she, more often than not, is going to bring her A game when it comes to her performance. Her portrayal of Darcy Fitzwilliam was no exception, as Lacey brought the right amount of sweetness to this role in order for her character to be likeable. I’ve seen Brendan’s lead performances in ‘Tis the Season for Love, Autumn in the Vineyard, Summer in the Vineyard, and Chesapeake Shores, so I knew he would have what it takes, talent wise, to lead his third Hallmark Christmas movie. Not only did Brendan pull off a really good performance, but he added the right amount of charisma for his on-screen presence to be as delightful as possible.


The Fitzwilliam’s house: I don’t know where Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe was filmed (probably somewhere in Canada), but wherever the production location was, the Fitzwilliam’s house was magnificent! The architecture was great to look at and showcased well on-screen. What was also great about this house was how it was decorated for Christmas-time. All of the decorations that were seen in this movie really complimented the features of this particular house!


The idea of auctioning off Christmas trees: When Darcy’s mother mentioned the idea of selling customized Christmas trees at the annual action, I thought it was a really creative concept. While auctions, especially charitable ones, have been featured in Hallmark movies before, the idea of selling Christmas trees at an auction is something I haven’t really seen in a Hallmark Christmas movie before. This idea’s originality is what carried my interest in that aspect of the plot. Maybe this idea could, one day, lead to a Hallmark movie about a Christmas tree decorating contest.

Merry Christmas banner created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/merry-christmas-decorative-vintage-background_1359013.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

A slow pace: While watching Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, I noticed that the pace of this film was slower than most of the Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel. This caused the plot to feel more drawn out than it might have been intended.


The performances of the supporting cast: While Lacey and Brendan’s performances were really good, the performances from the actors in the supporting cast were weaker. The quality of these performances ranged from ok to less-than-stellar. There were even times when some of the actors appeared to be going through the motions, making it appear as if Lacey and Brendan were carrying the majority of the film on their shoulders.


The character of Carl: In my review of The Christmas Card, I talked about how I didn’t like the character of Paul, Faith’s boyfriend, because it felt like he was placed into the story just for the sake of adding something to the plot. Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe had a similar problem with the character of Carl, Darcy’s boyfriend. Not only was his presence in the movie very limited, but the only time this character added conflict to the film’s overall plot was in the last twenty minutes of the movie. The character of Carl could have been written out of this story and it wouldn’t have made a difference.


Not so strong on-screen chemistry: While Lacey and Brendan had on-screen chemistry, I don’t think it was as strong as it could have been. To me, it didn’t feel like a romantic relationship was developing between Darcy and Luke. Instead, it appeared as though Darcy and Luke’s friendship was growing over the course of the film.


Little resemblance to the Pride and Prejudice story: In my Christmas at Pemberley Manor review, I said that the only thing I didn’t like about the movie was how few resemblances to Pride and Prejudice were found throughout the film. Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe had the exact same flaw, with even fewer characters being given the names of characters from Jane Austen’s book. If you remove the fact that this movie was supposed to be a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice with a twist, it would have come across like just any other Hallmark Christmas movie.

Yes, a new Hallmark movie was announced during the premiere of a new Hallmark movie. Isn’t that ironic? Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
Based on the title and the apparent month of release, I’m guessing this will be a Valentine’s Day themed movie. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
My overall impression:

Before the start of Hallmark’s Christmas movie line-ups, I knew there would be at least one movie that wasn’t good. Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe is the first Christmas movie, that I’ve seen so far, from this year’s line-ups that I didn’t like. As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I watch every movie with low expectations and an open mind. However, there are times when a movie just can’t reach those levels of expectations, no matter how low they are. On paper, the idea behind Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe sounded creative and interesting. But, in practice, this concept was not as compelling as I had hoped. During this movie, there was an advertisement for a Hallmark movie titled “Love, Romance & Chocolate”, which is supposed to premiere next February. This film will also star Lacey Chabert. Whoever stars in this new movie as the male lead actor, I just hope “Love, Romance & Chocolate” is better than Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe was.


Overall score: 5.7 out of 10


Have you seen Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe? What 2018 Hallmark Christmas movie do you like so far? Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Take 3: Christmas at Pemberley Manor Review

Because I’ve been busy preparing my editorial for the 2nd Disability In Film Blogathon and getting my reviews ready for my Halloween Double Feature, I haven’t been as active on my blog as I usually am. But, I wasn’t going to miss a beautiful opportunity to start reviewing movies within either of Hallmark’s Christmas line-ups! Both networks made no delays as they began airing Christmas movies last Friday. To start this Christmas movie season off on a well-intentioned note, the very first movie to premiere this year was Christmas at Pemberley Manor. When I first read the synopsis for this film, it sounded, to me, like a lot of other Hallmark movies I’ve seen or heard of before. Because this movie seemed to contain some of the same tropes that are usually found in Hallmark movies (businesswoman visits a small town and just so happens to find true love there, for example), I didn’t think I was going to enjoy this film. When I found out this movie was a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, I was curious to see how this particular story would play out in the 21st century. Did this creative approach work in this movie’s favor? Did the tropes win in the battle of Originality vs. Formulaic? Let’s turn the page on my Christmas at Pemberley Manor review in order to find out!

Christmas at Pemberley Manor poster
Christmas at Pemberley Manor poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Channel. Image found at https://www.hallmarkchannelpress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=142&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=302&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Christmas+at+Pemberley+Manor

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: The cast of Christmas at Pemberley Manor was great! Everyone was cast so well in their roles, with the portrayals of all the characters being memorably enjoyable. This is the second Hallmark Christmas movie of Jessica Lowndes’ that I’ve seen and I think her performance in this movie was much stronger than in A December Bride. This is also the second Hallmark Christmas movie of Michael Rady’s that I’ve seen and, just like in A Joyous Christmas, Michael’s performance was fantastic! I also think that Steve Larkin portrayed one of the best Santa-esque characters in Hallmark Christmas movie history!


The on-screen chemistry: I thought that Jessica and Michael performed very well together! The on-screen chemistry was one of the things that added to their performances, with this on-screen chemistry appearing very believable. As I watched Christmas at Pemberley Manor, I could see that Elizabeth and William’s relationship developed as the film went on. These characters looked like they truly cared about one another and their interactions were well-acted. I hope Jessica and Michael star in another Hallmark movie together again!


The writing: Even though there were some of the usual Hallmark movie tropes in Christmas at Pemberley Manor, there were times when it felt like the screenwriter was trying something new in terms of storytelling. For instance, in some Hallmark movies, there are two guys that, romantically speaking, like the same female protagonist. Out of these two guys, one of them almost always is portrayed as either a “workaholic” or not a nice person. In Christmas at Pemberley Manor, however, both of the guys that liked Elizabeth were genuinely good people. At one point, I honestly had no idea which love interest Elizabeth would end up with.

Adorable Santa image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/christmas-background-with-funny-santa_1324597.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Very little resemblance to Pride and Prejudice: When I heard that Christmas at Pemberley Manor was meant to be a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice, I was interested in seeing how this story could be adapted for the 21st century, especially since the only re-telling of Pride and Prejudice I’ve seen is the “Mr. Darcy” series on Hallmark Channel. However, this movie didn’t feel like any form of the Pride and Prejudice story. The only connections I could find between the original story and this film were Elizabeth’s, William’s, and Jane’s name being the same as either a character from the book or its respective author and the “don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover” trope.

Manor with white colored porch image created by Arkadiusz Frankowicz at freeimages.com. “FreeImages.com/Arkadiusz Frankowicz .”

My overall impression:

Christmas at Pemberley Manor was such a strong start to not only Hallmark’s Christmas movie line-ups, but also to the overall Christmas movie season! This movie was such a pleasant surprise that I ended up liking more than I thought I would! Looking back on it, this scenario reminds me of Hallmark Channel’s Christmas movie line-up from last year. The very first movie in that line-up was Marry Me at Christmas and before I watched this film, my expectations for it were low. This is because, just like how I originally felt about Christmas at Pemberley Manor, the movie sounded like a lot of other Hallmark movies I’ve seen and heard of before. When I did get the chance to watch Marry Me at Christmas, it became one of my favorite Hallmark Christmas movies from last year! I hope that Hallmark’s Christmas movies continue to surprise me the way Christmas at Pemberley Manor did, with more movies being better than expected.


Overall score: 8.2 out of 10


Have you seen Christmas at Pemberley Manor? What Hallmark movie are you looking forward to this Christmas season? Share your thoughts in the comment section!


Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen