Take 3: Sincerely, Yours, Truly Review + 295, 300, 305, 310, and 315 Follower Thank You

I know this review has been long overdue.  With several projects on my plate last month, I wasn’t able to get to my review as soon as I had wanted. Like I mentioned in my Peer Pressure Tag post, I am using March as the month where I catch up on important articles. This includes the newest blog follower dedication review. This time around, I wanted to choose a movie that was different from the film I wrote about for my last review; Perry Mason: The Case of the Telltale Talk Show Host. Even though there is a mystery in Sincerely, Yours, Truly, the overall story is more light-hearted in tone. It’s rare for an Up Network film to be covered on 18 Cinema Lane. This is because I just haven’t gotten around to watching many of them. Beginning at the start of 2021, Up Network has been releasing a new movie almost every Sunday night. Since Sincerely, Yours, Truly has been on my DVR for about a month, I finally had an excuse to watch it!

I took a screenshot of the film’s poster from my television. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: Even though Natalie Hall has starred in Hallmark Channel movies since 2011, the only film of Natalie’s I have seen is A Winter Princess. The reason I bring this up is because it shows how Natalie has experience when it comes to working on films of this nature. Throughout Sincerely, Yours, Truly, Natalie was very expressive, which is reflective of her time appearing in Hallmark’s rom-coms and one of the Love Saga (Love Comes Softly) films. Toward the beginning of the movie, Natalie’s character, Hayley, and her friend, Elisa, have received good news about a potential grant for their non-profit, Growing Out. They dance around Hayley’s kitchen and squeal in delight, as they can’t contain their excitement. While we’re on the subject of Elisa, I also liked Nicki Whitely’s performance in Sincerely, Yours, Truly! Like Natalie, Nicki was also expressive. She had a good on-screen personality as well. Anytime Elisa interacted with Hayley, their friendship came across as realistic. The moments when they read the love letters are a good example. This was my first time watching any of Marshall Williams’ projects, so I didn’t know what to expect from Marshall, talent-wise. I have to say that I was very impressed by his portrayal of Josh! In the movie, he was charming, with his reactions and expressions appearing natural. Having good on-screen chemistry with Natalie also helped Marshall. One of Marshall’s best scenes was when Josh discovers a letter about a lost item. Josh receives his mail when is on his way to work, not thinking twice about the task. As soon as he sees the letter, a look of curiosity immediately appears on his face.

The witty banter: In order to make any movie, let alone a rom-com, work, there needs to be good dialogue among the characters. Sincerely, Yours, Truly contained witty banter, which was one of the strongest parts of the film! Hayley and Josh meet when they argue over who should receive the last two jars of rhubarb jam. During this interaction, Josh lies about his reasons for wanting the jam. At first, he says he needs it for his sister because she’s having a bad day. Then he says he needs the jam because his sister is sick. Hayley comes back with witty remarks, calling out his falsehood in the process. After hearing both explanations of Josh’s, she asks him which one is true. This back-and-forth banter between these two characters was consistent, being both quick and sharp. Another example of this banter is when Josh is asking Hayley to put out her incense at their shared office facility. Because he’s entering her part of the office, Hayley responds by telling him not to spy, a reference from an earlier conversation. Not only do these interactions work because of the script, but also because of Natalie and Marshall’s talents!

The process of a grant proposal: A overarching narrative in Sincerely, Yours, Truly is Josh and Hayley attempting to win a financial grant for their respective non-profits. Throughout the film, the audience gets to see the entire process, from Josh and Hayley’s initial meeting to the final results. I found this part of the story interesting, as it allowed the characters to use problem solving skills and creativity. Even though Hayley’s non-profit was featured in the film more than Josh’s, I liked seeing her ideas come to life! This kind of insightful story-telling is what I’ve come to enjoy in stories like this.

Envelope with hearts image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/hearts-and-pink-envelope-for-mothers-day_1950691.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/love”>Love image created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

Revealing the mystery too early: A mystery surrounding a collection of love letters was one of the major stories in Sincerely, Yours, Truly. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to watch this film. Within the first twenty minutes, a narration from a character the audience already met recites one of the love letters. The narration reveals the identity of the letters’ author. The mystery should have been drawn out for longer than twenty minutes, with the author’s identity remaining a secret for at least half the movie. This would give the audience more time to stay invested in the mystery.

No subplots for the supporting characters: While I liked the major stories in Sincerely, Yours, Truly, I didn’t find subplots for any of the supporting characters. What’s even more frustrating is how there were opportunities for subplots to take place. One example is Hayley’s mom, Camille. Over lunch between mother and daughter, it is revealed that Camille has a crush on a local butcher. However, this relationship is never explored and we only see Camille in two scenes. In the story, Elisa shares how she’s dating a dog-walker, whose profession is affecting her allergies. This conflict was not resolved anywhere in the movie.

Josh and Hayley never coming across as enemies: A classic rom-com trope that is found within the movie is “enemies to lovers”. Even though I enjoyed seeing Hayley and Josh’s interactions, I never felt like they were enemies. Sure, there were aspects of the other person they didn’t like. But their banter came across as playful than antagonistic. This made me question why the creative team behind Sincerely, Yours, Truly adopted this specific trope if they weren’t going to fully utilize it?

Fancy jewelry image created by Freepic.diller at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/wedding”>Wedding photo created by freepic.diller – http://www.freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

I’m glad to see Up Network releasing newer films on their channel! It gives their audience something to look forward to and allows the network to compete alongside their competitors. With Sincerely, Yours, Truly, it was a film I ended up liking! While the movie does have its flaws, its sincerity and genuineness make up for that. I didn’t bring this up in my review, but Sincerely, Yours, Truly successfully avoided the “it’s not what you think” cliché. There were two instances where this cliché could have been used in the story. However, the film’s creative team subverted my expectations and chose not to use it, which made me enjoy the movie more! I want to take the time now to thank all of my followers. Reaching 300 followers is a big deal for me, so I appreciate all of the support!

Overall score: 7.8 out of 10

Have you seen any of Up Network’s newer films? If so, which one has been your favorite? Please tell me in the comment section below!

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Why You Should Give the Film, Boys Town, a Chance

For Pure Entertainment Preservation Society’s Favorite Code Film Blogathon, I reflected on all of the Breen Code era movies that I’ve seen and/or reviewed since starting 18 Cinema Lane a year ago. One film, that I watched back in May, that left a good impression on me was 1938’s Boys Town. Before 2019, I had never even heard of this movie. But I’m glad I gave the film a chance, as I thoroughly enjoyed it! Boys Town had the components that I look for in a movie; a good story with likable characters. It’s also based on a real-life person as well as a real-life non-profit organization. This is a film that I think people should give a chance. To explain why, I created a list of reasons to support my opinion. One of my goals for this blog is to encourage others to watch films that they may not have seen before. So, if this post accomplishes that goal, I would feel like I helped someone out.

Favorite Code Film blogathon banner
The Favorite Code Film Blogathon banner created by Tiffany and Rebekah Brannan from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society. Image found at https://pureentertainmentpreservationsociety.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/announcing-the-favorite-code-film-blogathon/.

Fantastic Acting Performances

When I review a film, one of the first things I talk about is the acting. This is because the acting performances are one of the first things you see in a movie. In Boys Town, the actors in this cast gave fantastic acting performances! One of the most notable is Mickey Rooney’s performance as Whitey Marsh. Over the course of the story, Whitey evolves from a self-centered youngster to one of Boys Town’s biggest supporters. Mickey’s portrayal of this character helped make this evolution believable. In fact, this is one of the best performances that Mickey has ever given in his career! That’s not the only acting performance that impressed me. Spencer Tracy’s portrayal of Father Flanagan is consistent in not only Boys Town, but also in the sequel, Men of Boys Town. With the right amount of emotionality, Spencer made his character a likable individual. Father Flanagan was stern when he needed to be, yet selfless and caring toward the residents of Boys Town. Throughout this movie, you can tell that Father Flanagan always has his heart in the right place.

 

Based on a True Story

As I said in the introduction, Boys Town is based on a real-life person and a real-life non-profit organization. Before watching this movie, I was familiar with Boys Town as a charity. Their mission and the people that have benefited from Boys Town are things that I learned about years prior. When I watched the film, I learned more about Boys Town and the history associated with it. While there were liberties that were taken in this story, the movie is an educational lesson about who Father Flanagan is and what his mission was. Come to think of it, I haven’t seen or heard of many movies that tell the story about an existing non-profit organization. This is something that makes this film truly special!

Boys Town poster
Boys Town poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Image found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Boys_town.jpg.

Good Quality Content

Because Boys Town and its sequel, Men of Boys Town, were released during the Breen Code era, there isn’t any cinematic content this is questionable or offensive. Because of this, I will be talking about the positive content that is featured in this film. A large portion comes from the lessons and messages included in this narrative. Giving second chances is a fluid message, highlighted in Whitey’s subplot. By bringing Whitey to Boys Town, Father Flanagan gives Whitey a second chance at life. Despite Whitey’s negative attitudes toward his new surroundings, Father Flanagan never gives up on him. One important lesson that can be found in Boys Town is putting other people before yourself. During the entirety of this story, Father Flanagan is always looking out for the residents of Boys Town. Even when he receives hundreds of dollars in donations and plenty of praise, he still tries to figure how he can help others to the best of his abilities. Messages and lessons like these can be relatable for all members of the audience!

 

An Entertaining Sequel

I’ve been saying in this post that Boys Town was given a sequel called Men of Boys Town. Before I watched this film, I was skeptical about its quality. Since its predecessor was based on a true story, I wasn’t sure how the sequel would hold up. I was proven wrong, however, as I was met by a movie that was just as good or better than the first one! While Whitey’s subplot repeats some of the same story-points from Boys Town, the overall narrative of Men of Boys Town expands upon the story from the first film. New characters are introduced, causing new stories to be told. With this comes new ideas and messages, such as trauma, loss, and finding ways to heal. Men of Boys Town is one of the few sequels that actually compliments the film that came before it. If you do give Boys Town a chance, check out Men of Boys Town as well!

Men of Boys Town poster
Men of Boys Town poster created by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Image found at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Men_of_Boys_Town_poster.JPG.

My Final Statement

In my review of Stowaway, I shared that I would be reviewing a Breen Code era film every week during Clean Movie Month. This gives me a chance to watch even more movies that I haven’t seen before. That’s the great thing about being a movie blogger, as I not only get to watch films that are new to me, but I also get to share these films with others. In the month of July, films that were released between 1934 and 1954, also known as the Breen Code era, are celebrated by anyone and everyone who enjoys movies. Because of Tiffany and Rebekah, from Pure Entertainment Preservation Society, more people can learn about the Breen Code and why it’s an important part of film history. Be sure to stay tuned for the rest of my Clean Movie Month reviews, which will come as July goes on.

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen