Take 3: Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance Review

As When Calls the Heart was walking away from its seventh chapter, the Matchmaker Mysteries series was embarking on their second installment! After its 2019 debut, this series has already found a place in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ collection of films. I have seen the first Matchmaker Mysteries installment, Matchmaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement, and I thought it was a strong start to this series! It left me wondering where the story would go and how it would evolve over time. As I said in my review of Mystery 101: An Education in Murder, I have found Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ 2020 line-up to be strong. I’ve also enjoyed the majority of the films that have premiered so far. Since I liked the first Matchmaker Mysteries film, I felt there would be a chance I would like its successor!

Matchmaker Mysteries -- A Fatal Romance
Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance poster created by Crown Media Family Networks and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Image found at https://www.crownmediapress.com/Shows/PRShowDetail?SiteID=143&FeedBoxID=845&NodeID=307&ShowType=&ShowTitle=Matchmaker+Mysteries+A+Fatal+Romance.

Things I liked about the film:

The acting: I’ve seen all of Danica McKellar’s Hallmark movies. The one consistent element I’ve noticed about Danica’s acting abilities while watching her films, including this one, is how her emotions seamlessly transition from one situation to the next. One great example is when Kyle shows up at Angie’s studio shortly after the murder victim is discovered. Danica, as Angie, goes from smiling and laughing at a friend’s joke to looking concerned when she notices Kyle’s presence. Lara Gilchrist also did a good job transitioning her emotions between scenes. This is because her acting abilities are versatile. A scene that effectively displays Lara’s talents is one where her character, Margaret, is sharing a personal secret to Angie. What helped this movie was how some of the cast members appeared in the first movie as well as the second movie. One of these members is Victor Webster. Throughout Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance, he appeared at ease in his role as Kyle. This was caused by Victor being familiar with the material.

 

Angie’s relationship with Ethan: In Hallmark’s films, the female protagonist usually spends a lot of time with the male protagonist. This is done in the hopes of having these characters end up together in a relationship. In Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance, Angie spends more time with her ex-boyfriend, Ethan, than with Kyle. By having the female protagonist associate herself with the male supporting character, this creates a unique dynamic from other Hallmark projects. It also helps that Danica and Dan Payne, the actor who portrays Ethan, had on-screen chemistry!

 

The locations/sets: Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance boasted some great locations, which lent themselves as sets for the project. At the beginning of the film, Angie attends a convention, where she is a co-host for a particular panel. This panel took place in a ballroom that has been featured in other Hallmark movies. The ballroom itself is spacious and grand. My favorite part of this place is the large windows, as they oversaw a golf course and let in a soft, natural light in one specific scene. I also loved the design of Beatrice’s house! The exterior had a cute Victorian look to it, from its pale-yellow hue to the wrap-around porch. The interior showcased impressive dark woodwork that complemented the space, especially on the fireplace! This was paired really well with the blue-green tiles found in this feature. Speaking of fireplaces, Angie’s father’s house also contained some eye-catching design features! One of them was a stone fireplace. Even thought this was never the focal point in the film, it was an interesting component of that space.

Happy Valentines day and heart. Card with Happy Valentines day a
Heart image created by Dashu83 at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Backgroundimage created by Dashu83 – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-photo/happy-valentines-day-and-heart-card-with-happy-valentines-day-and-heart_1747001.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What I didn’t like about the film:

The matchmaking subplot: I know Angie’s matchmaking career plays a role in this series. In fact, placing this aspect within a subplot allows it to continue existing in the series’ identity. However, I didn’t find the matchmaking subplot in Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance interesting. If anything, it was predictable, coming off as a basic plot from an unaired Hallmark Channel movie. The story itself contains rehashed ideas that I’ve already seen from other Hallmark productions. This subplot, to me, didn’t add anything significant to the overall film.

 

Limited amount of suspense: In a typical mystery film, suspense is used to keep the audience invested in the story. While the first movie in the Matchmaker Mysteries series contained a good amount of suspense, the second film used suspense very sparingly. Moments of suspense were only found in a few scenes. While it was effective for those scenes, it also made the movie feel less thrilling.

 

A small amount of urgency: Having the protagonist talk to the suspects is an important part of any mystery. But in Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance, this part of the mystery-solving process was the most prominent of the story. It got to the point where it seemed like all the characters were just sitting around and talking to one another. Because of this, it made the film as a whole feature a small amount of urgency.

269703-P5H9WI-853
Magnifying glass image created by Freepik at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/magnifying-glass-with-fingerprint-in-flat-style_2034684.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/flat”>Flat vector created by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

My overall impression:

Matchmaker Mysteries: A Fatal Romance was a fine film. However, it took a few steps backwards from its predecessor. As I said in the introduction, I thought the first movie, Matchmaker Mysteries: A Killer Engagement was a strong start to the series. But this sequel didn’t leave as big of an impression on me as some of the other 2020 releases from Hallmark Movies and Mysteries have. The small amount of urgency and the limited amount of suspense has not helped this film’s case. While I appreciate this creative team’s decision to place the series’ defining element in a subplot, I was not a fan of the subplot itself. Even though this movie had its strengths, I think the overall project could have been stronger. It does take a while for each series to find its footing. But it also takes time for the next installment in each series to be announced. If there is a third movie in the Matchmaker Mysteries series, I hope it is better than the second movie was.

 

Overall score: 7.3 out of 10

 

Do you watch the movies from the Matchmaker Mysteries series? Have you seen any of Danica’s Hallmark films? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

Evenings At The Shore: Different Versions of the Truth

In this episode of Chesapeake Shores, Connor became the voice of reason. His statement about memories rang so true to me. Everyone has different life experiences, so it makes sense that everyone’s memories will be different. Connor’s statement could also be applied to Hallmark movies and television shows. While Hallmark Channel movies can feel formulaic at times, Hallmark, in general, tries to tell different stories. For example, the basic premise of All of My Heart and Truly, Madly, Sweetly sounds similar to each other. In reality, these two movies have more differences between them than similarities. Connor’s statement also holds true on Chesapeake Shores. Even though they may go through similar situations, all of the characters on this show have different stories. These differences in stories cause the characters to form their own distinct memories. Time to look at this re-cap of Chesapeake Shores!

Just a reminder: If you did not see this episode of Chesapeake Shores, there may be spoilers within this re-cap.

Chespeake Shores Season 3 poster
Chesapeake Shores poster image 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=series&ShowTitle=Chesapeake%20Shores%20Season%203&episodeIndex=3001

Season: 3

Episode: 8

Name: All Our Tomorrows

 

Trace’s story: Trace, Mick, and one of the financial advisers still try to figure out how to keep The Bridge financially afloat. The financial adviser makes suggestions to Trace about how The Bridge’s business practices could be improved. Trace, however, is not a fan of any of these suggestions because he feels they take away from the original intent of the venue. Later in the episode, Trace and the financial advisor try to come up with a compromise in relation to how The Bridge should operate from that point forward. But, all of Trace’s suggestions are turned down by the financial advisor, causing Trace to feel even more frustrated than before. Toward the end of the episode, Trace leaves Chesapeake Shores to perform in Charlottesville. Before he leaves, Trace gives Mick and the financial advisor a copy of the original contract, pointing out the loophole that Connor found in the previous episode.

 

Abby’s story: Because Terri is Abby’s newest business client, Abby will be helping Terri when it comes to business related matters. In this episode, Terri comes to Abby and needs advice about a business deal relating to her blog. Terri realizes there is a lot of money involved if she accepts this deal, but she wants her blog to remain true to itself as well as her values. One day, Abby invites Terri to her office in order to help Terri make a decision about the business deal. During a role-play session, conducted by Abby, Terri comes to the decision that accepting the business deal would mean that she would end up endorsing a product that she doesn’t believe in. As Terri turns down the business offer, she asks Abby if they can be friends. Abby, realizing during one of their business meetings that she and Terri have more in common than not, says that they are already friends.

 

Mick’s story: Mick, as well as Trace and one of the financial advisors, try to figure out how to keep The Bridge financially afloat. When the financial advisor makes suggestions to improve The Bridge, Trace refuses all of them. Later in the episode, Trace gives Mick a copy of their original contract. Trace points out a loophole within the contract that makes it seem like Mick doesn’t have as much control of The Bridge as it was originally assumed. Also, in this episode, Mick consoles Jess after the Inn permanently closes due to a termite infestation and he reads Bree’s manuscript. After he reads Bree’s manuscript, Mick tells Bree that she shouldn’t publish her manuscript because the O’Brien family secrets would be revealed to the world.

 

Megan’s story: After Megan reads Bree’s manuscript, she tries her best to avoid interacting with Bree. However, Nell encourages Megan to tell Bree the truth about why she left the family. After paying Bree a visit at Word Play, Megan shares some details about why she left the family. Megan tells Bree that after she gave birth to Jess, she felt unwell more often than not. This feeling caused Megan to leave the family in order to seek help. Opening up those old wounds causes Megan to quickly leave Kevin’s graduation party after she makes an emotional toast.

ON40S80
Money plant image created by Dooder at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/infographic”>Infographic vector created by Dooder – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/watering-the-coin-plant_1076121.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Bree’s story: When Bree asks Megan if she read her manuscript, she is completely ignored by her own mother. This indicates to Bree that her mother didn’t like the manuscript. When Bree tries to talk to Megan later that day, Megan expresses her disappointment in her daughter’s lack of knowledge when it comes to her own mother. The next day, at Word Play, Bree confides in Connor about the disagreement she and Megan had the day before. Connor shares that personal memory is not always the most reliable source because everyone’s memories will be different, meaning that everyone’s truths will be different. Later in the episode, Megan visits Bree at Word Play and shares some details about why she left the family. Bree learns that Megan wasn’t feeling well after Jess was born, causing Megan to leave the family in order to seek help. After Megan reveals that she wanted the family to come live in New York with her, Bree confesses that all she and her siblings wanted was for their mom to come home.

 

Kevin’s story: As Kevin is about to graduate from the EMT program, he worries about the future of his relationship with Sarah. When Sarah tells Kevin that her new job in Philadelphia starts the following week, Kevin becomes even more worried that their relationship might not survive. The next day, when taking a visit to the boat docks, Kevin talks to Mick about his situation and his feelings relating to it. Mick tells his son to talk to Sarah about how the entire situation is making him feel. While on a jog, Kevin shares his worries with Sarah about the fate of their relationship. Sarah reassures him that even though they will be two hours away from each other (with Kevin accepting the EMT job in New York), they can take turns visiting one another. Sarah’s reassurance and enthusiasm to continue their relationship makes Kevin feel better about the situation.

 

Jess’ story: After a building inspector visits the Inn, Jess discovers that the building is infested with termites. The next day, Jess finds out that the infestation is so bad, the Inn has to close and the building has to be torn down. This news is devastating for Jess to hear, especially since she had many hopes and dreams for the future of the Inn. While Jess is moving her belongings out of the Inn, she shares these hopes and dreams with David. One of these dreams was spending Christmas at the Inn. Because of how heartbroken Jess is, David decorates the exterior of the Inn with Christmas decorations and surprises Jess the next day. Jess is pleasantly surprised by how much David cared about her feelings as well as her dreams. At this moment, Jess and David tell each other ‘I Love You’ for the first time.

 

Connor’s story: After his legal victory, Connor is invited to lunch by Danielle. At Sally’s Café, Danielle asks Connor if he could come work at Danielle’s law firm on an upcoming case. Because the case’s topic is of interest to Connor, he gets permission from Thomas before accepting the job. While working on the case, Connor uses his knowledge of past cases to help Danielle come up with a plan to win the case. He also discovers that Danielle broke up with her current boyfriend. Back in Chesapeake Shores, Connor visits Bree at Word Play. After Bree tells him about the disagreement she had with Megan, Connor says that personal memory is not always a reliable source because everyone’s memories are different, which means that everyone’s truths are different. After this heart-to-heart discussion between him and Bree, Connor shares his memories from when Megan wasn’t feeling well.

Merry Christmas Card
Blue sparkly Christmas tree image created by Macrovector at freepik.com. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame vector created by Macrovector – Freepik.com</a>. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/merry-christmas-card_2875396.htm’>Designed by Macrovector</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

Some thoughts to consider:

  • In this episode, Andrew Francis (the actor who portrays Connor) and Laci J. Mailey (the actress who portrays Jess) gave awesome performances! The scene where Connor is recalling memories with Bree about their childhood showcases one of the most powerful performances Andrew has ever given in any Hallmark project he has starred in. Laci’s performance, throughout this episode, was both emotional and versatile. As a fan of this show, I am waiting for the day when Andrew and Laci receive a starring role in a Hallmark movie.

 

  • Speaking of Laci, in the scene where David surprises Jess with the Christmas decorations, did anyone else notice Laci’s wedding ring on her left hand? I know Laci J. Mailey is married in real life, but when I first saw that scene, I thought David proposed to Jess off-camera.

 

  • Because we, the audience, know how wealthy David is, I wonder if he will purchase a new building or hire builders to create a new Bed & Breakfast for Jess? I’m pretty sure the creative team behind Chesapeake Shores could find a new building to stand in as Jess’ Bed & Breakfast.
Starry night landscape with reeds
Evening view from the shore image created by 0melapics at freepik.com. <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/free-vector/landscape-in-a-swamp-at-night_1042860.htm’>Designed by Freepik</a>. <a href=”https://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/background”>Background vector created by 0melapics – Freepik.com</a>. Image found at freepik.com.

What did you think of this episode? What do you think will happen in the season finale? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section!

 

Have fun in Chesapeake Shores!

Sally Silverscreen