I know I’m a little late to this one, but there’s a real benefit to that for me. I get to watch part two in a few days. Hallmark was originally going to wait a whole year to air the second part. However, after receiving a bunch of angry feedback, which must have been really bad, they aired the second part in March. Hallmark of course kept calling it “popular demand.” I doubt that. This is going to be a short review because there isn’t a movie here. I’m going to deflate it for you and me. If you’ve already seen The Notebook (2004), then just go watch that again. This could have easily been called Karen Kingsbury’s The Notebook. It’s also one of the most lazily produced Hallmark movies I’ve watched so far. How fast do we get to see that? Here is what it cuts to right after that shot above.
I had no idea that North Carolina moved to the metric system back in the 1990s. I also didn’t know that North Carolina moved to British Columbia, which is the only place Murchie’s exists. That’s Ted McGinley down there as Charlie. He will be a slightly altered psychic version of himself from The Note movies. Inside we find Donna played by Faith Ford.
It also looks like Karen Kingsbury can time travel back to 1997 to place her book released in 2015 on the shelves. It will pop up in other places too. There are of course other recent books back in 1997 as well.
They meet over a copy of Slow Road to Brownsville by David Reynolds, fall in love, get married, she gets pregnant, it’s stillborn, and suddenly they get the idea to create a bookstore in order to get over their loss by helping others via that bookstore. Bookstore made! Enter the kids of the film.
Now we meet every rich young girl heading off to college.
I’m really glad this is a Hallmark movie and not a Lifetime movie, or that shot would probably mean something totally different. Her name is Molly (Katie Findlay) and she’s from a mansion with text floating below it that tells us we are now in “Seattle 2009”. The back of that head belongs to every father who wants their kid to go to college so they can come back and take over the family business. He is played by actor Steve Bacic. Another guy comes into the room here. That sentence alone is about as much acknowledgment of his character this movie gives him. We also find out that Molly and her best friend are actually 300 years old on top of her friend being cute and funny. Those lines and a few others are there because they didn’t have much faith in Katie Findlay and Steve Bacic to convey their relationship to us with their face and body language even though they both did that perfectly. Especially Steve Bacic who comes prepackaged with the face that instantly says that.
Then this happens.
Not sure what happened with the camera there, but moving on. We also find out that her mother is dead because Hallmark, and that Molly has no major. That doesn’t sound odd. She’s a freshman.
Anyways, we are now off to Nashville, Tennessee. Molly nearly walks into oncoming traffic so that her love interest for the movie can rescue her. His name is Ryan (Wyatt Nash) since going with Noah would be too obvious considering a storm is going to wipe out the bookstore in part two.
That thing popping up behind him is a guitar because he’s a musician. They go to sign up for classes and keep finding that they are picking out the same ones. They say it’s to “step outside [their] comfort zone.” He immediately takes her to The Bridge, which is the name of the bookstore. We again find there are Karen Kingsbury books all over the place. Also, Karen has once again used her powers of time travel to make a cameo.
If R.L. Stine can use his ability to slide into different dimensions in order to appear in Goosebumps (2015), then I’m fine with this.
Upon meeting Molly, Charlie immediately is able to tell that she has traveled out of the country, is a sport’s fan, and she loved The Little House Series as a kid. Ryan says Charlie is a magician, but I’m waiting for part two where I’m sure he’s going to turn out to be a Whitelighter. He’s as devoid of self as Brian Krause’s character was on that show. So is Ryan for that matter.
This all goes exactly where you think it does. They look around and he drops her out on a trail to walk home through the forest.
I know that they later explain this as her trying to hide that her Dad has her setup in a great place and she is trying to hide that from him, but this still came across as weird.
Ryan decides to take Molly on a tour of Franklin, Tennessee. He says, “Most people head straight for Nashville, but Franklin is really hitting its stride.” I agree, it is well on its way to turning into Oak Bay, British Columbia as those street signs and banner behind them announce to the audience.
They have some more back and forth, then it’s back to the forest for Molly.
There’s a lot of talking and it is a bit tough to tell how much time has past. It all amounts to them having something they want to do, but needing a kick in the butt in order to follow through with it. That, and even after she tells him about living in a great house, he still leaves her in the forest. She also gives him a copy of Jane Eyre. Never read it, but I have seen I Walked With A Zombie (1943), which probably is the weirdest film adaptation of that book.
Some blonde shows up now for the same reason as the guy from the beginning and is as worth mentioning as a single sentence affords. We need to keep moving cause we have plenty less of this movie to talk about.
Quick scene of Charlie harassing his wife to come to church with him.
No, he doesn’t quote the title of his 2015 movie Do You Believe?, and he gives in to go see a cheesy action flick. Would have made my day if he said the local theater was doing a retrospective of 90s action films and they were going to show Blue Tornado (1991).
The main thing the movie revolves around is an assignment to make a video about where he is going to be in 10 years that Ryan has been given. On the Charlie and Donna side, it’s figuring out that bookstores aren’t just a checkout counter and never really were in order to keep afloat.
Then…well…things sure happen. Sort of. They just spend time together. She starts coming around to not taking over the family business. We find out he can’t sing, but the movie tells us he is amazing and he is offered a chance to drop out to go on tour with someone. You aren’t missing anything. Oh, we do find out that Charlie really likes Christmas!
He also believes that dogs have every right to be chefs.
More things happen. Blah. Then this occurs.
Yes, those three things do happen in quick succession. We see Douglas Sirk snow outside, Ryan says “it’s snowing”, and then Ryan and Molly step outside to no snow falling. It doesn’t start up again either.
Stuff happens and Molly’s cellphone magically goes from being lit to dark a couple of times between camera cuts during a single conversation. That part was at least entertaining.
Ryan and Molly are apart. Charlie and Donna are still together. Donna still won’t go to church with him. And to be continued…
I jumped over scenes, but you missed nothing. They are just people in front of a camera doing and saying nothing of consequence. In other words, it’s like watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014). The Bridge is the classic tale of a writer who took a bunch of romance cliches, arranged them into a religious allegory, Hallmark saw what they thought was a gold mine, threw as little money as possible at it, delivered a movie where nothing happens or is resolved, told people they’d have to wait a year for the conclusion, and then were told that was unacceptable by their audience so they aired part two a few a months later. I haven’t read the book, but to give Kingsbury the benefit of the doubt, I would be pissed to see my work turned into this if I were her.
I’ve only glanced at the plot summary for part two, but I’m guessing her stillborn pregnancy isn’t water under The Bridge. It will reappear as a literal storm that destroys the bookstore. Charlie will die in the comfort of his religion and with her side at his side. Donna will come to the Church. The movie will still think we actually care about the two young actor’s story who are there just to have a happy ending contrast to the patchwork life led by Donna and Charlie. Finally, Ryan and Molly will have a kid that will be the grandchild Donna never had after she and Charlie largely adopted Ryan and Molly in their own way. At least that’s what I am expecting.
I have to watch part two at this point, but you don’t have to watch either of them.