A Stranger’s Heart (2007) – This is a movie A, movie B, type film. Movie A is about being in a hospital morbidly awaiting someone to die, but have a heart left over for you to receive via a transplant. Movie B is about how all those things we ascribe to our heart in metaphor are literally transferred by what the film calls “cell memory”. Movie A works. Movie B is honestly a little creepy.
The movie begins by introducing our leading lady as a child. This part is kind of unintentionally funny. I know why we need to kill off her mom, but did it need to happen by her stupidly wandering onto a street while singing Oh, Susannah? Then we learn that the little girl had heart problems and then suddenly we’re in the present with her grown up in the hospital. Like I said before, this part works. She is in there with several people including the guy she ends up with. The movie does a good job of getting across trying to find humor in that kind of a situation while waiting for something horrible to happen to somebody else in order to save your life.
Then movie B kicks in. She gets a heart, her female friend gets a heart, and her future boyfriend gets a heart. The female friend starts craving something she hadn’t drank since she was little. Then a little later in the film she goes and meets the family whose daughter’s heart she now has. She comes back complaining that the family basically didn’t see her as their daughter reincarnated. That’s where this film switches from your biological structure changing to a literal transference of high level thoughts and feelings via the heart.
It turns out our boy and girl both received their hearts from a couple who died in a car crash leaving behind their daughter. Then the two of them basically start stalking the little girl who is now without her parents. It’s kind of well meaning, but it is creepy because the movie does want you to believe they have somehow received the love her parents had for her through a heart transplant complete with dreams about the little girl. And yes, it carries this idea all the way through to having the little girl with them as essentially new parents carrying their old parents within them as if the heart is like a symbiotic creature we carry within us.
This movie is a mixed bag, but since it is a Larry Levinson Production, that does mean computer screen screw ups.
If you can, read that fake webpage. It’s like reading someone’s template rather than an actual post. Also, look at the bottom left hand corner. They took a screenshot of a Windows XP machine and have her looking at it on a Mac.
The Confession (2007) – This movie is a standard you’ve seen it a million times before soap opera type plot. You have a rich lady who gave up her daughter for adoption a long time ago and is fading health wise. You have her husband who is a gambling addict that wants to inherit her money, but has just been cut out of the will because of his addiction. He runs into an aspiring actress and hires her to play the long lost daughter so he can get the estate through her. The actual daughter turns up a little late and gets taken in as a servant. You know how the rest plays out.
The only difference here is the girl is Amish. That’s it. This is the second in what is either going to be a trilogy with the upcoming film The Reckoning or an ongoing saga. There is enough open ended stuff attached to this movie to warrant another film.
There are two actors you’ll recognize here. Sherry Stringfield from ER is the rich lady and Adrian Paul from Highlander is the husband. I thought they did a good job. The only real problem I had was with the Amish girl who is played by Katie Leclerc. She tries to do a Pennsylvania Dutch accent and it doesn’t work. She’s Texan born and raised in Colorado. Also, it doesn’t help that the actress in the movie fakes a Pennsylvania Dutch accent, thus making us notice Leclerc’s fake accent even more. That is, when she’s actually doing it. When Leclerc gets hired as a servant she magically switches to an American accent. I get why she needs to do it, but people don’t naturally have that ability. I haven’t seen the first film called The Shunning (2011) where the same character was played by Danielle Panabaker, so I can’t speak to whether she was any better at pulling off the accent.
If you don’t let the accent part bother you, then this is fine little soap opera. I am curious how they are going to reconcile her suddenly being in the money with her Amish past since they don’t do it here.
Oh, and no, it doesn’t end with Leclerc chopping off the fake Amish girl’s head because there can be only one. Adrian Paul also keeps his head.
Be My Valentine (2013) – Since Hallmark just aired a new movie called Lead With Your Heart (2015) with Billy Baldwin, they played this one that also has Billy in it. The movie begins with Kate Burlingham (Natalie Brown) who is about to watch Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated (2009), when Billy climbs in through her window and rescues her. Just kidding. Her flower store is in a fire and Dan Farrell, played by Billy Baldwin, is the head firefighter. Of course the two are going to come together during the upcoming Valentine’s Day.
Just like Second Chances (2013), while the adults are supposed to be the feature presentation, it’s the child actors that are the most enjoyable part. In this case, it’s Baldwin’s kid and a girl named Rebecca. I don’t know why the adult romance had to be here at all. The story of the two kids is far more interesting and I think Baldwin does a good job as the dad trying to guide his son through young love. It’s also where one of this films funniest parts comes from. When he first meets Rebecca, she is reading a book. He asks her if she plays the games too because apparently, the books don’t make sense if you don’t play the games as well. She says she plays the game on her phone, notebook, and computer. But then he says a version just came out on “the cloud”. He says it’s “majorly interactive” to which she responds “I’m so going to hook into that.” What I want to know is if I can play Teddy Boy on “the cloud”.
Or, since this is a Hallmark movie, will my Bible games play on “the cloud”?
It’s stupid questions like this that come to mind when the characters say stupid things because the writers wanted to sound hip. Or maybe that’s just how Canadian kids actually talk. Oddly, while that part of trying to make the kids sound like kids, they get something else almost right on button. Baldwin suggests that instead of brining Rebecca flowers or chocolate, he get more creative and make a mixed tape. After a little confusion for the kid, he figures out that he can make a DVD composed of videos (I think music ones) for her. That’s kind of a reasonable update of the classic mixed tape. Kudos on that one.
This is one of those films that is shot in Canada, but Baldwin walks around with an American flag on his uniform so it’s totally the United States.
It’s fine and enjoyable. It’s a little out of the blue when an old boyfriend shows up to sort of disrupt things a little, but he goes as quickly as he came.
Chance At Romance (2013) – This one is a real skipper. It doesn’t get much more generic and forced for a Hallmark romance movie, then this one.
It’s about a girl named Samantha Hart (Erin Krakow) who wanders into a photo gallery showing. Heath Madsen (Ryan McPartlin) is the photographer. She likes his work so she goes to his website to look at some of his photos. In this movie he’s a pioneer of HDR photography. She decides to shoot him an email to tell him she likes his work. However, the email ends up in his son’s hand who proceeds to have a back and forth with her pretending to be his dad. He wants her to meet his dad. Her invites her over, something happens weather wise, and that’s how the two are forced to spend time with each other till they fall in love. This movie goes so far as to have him literally show up on a white horse at the end to take her away.
It’s really boring. There are much better Hallmark romance films out there. Go with Be My Valentine out of the four movies I mentioned here.
However, it does have one thing that is of note for someone like myself who has seen too many Hallmark movies. In three other Hallmark movies they either mention or outright have one of the actors play the Wii. In this one they have moved from pushing that Nintendo console to pushing the Wii U.