Even though Valentine’s Day is next Thursday, Hallmark has wasted no time in starting their line-up of Valentine’s Day themed movies, “Countdown to Valentine’s Day”. Starting this line-up is the anticipated third installment, Valentine in the Vineyard! Last month, in a Word on the Street story, I not only announced that this movie would be Hallmark’s first Valentine’s Day themed movie of 2019, but I also said that Crown Media Family Networks released the film’s synopsis on their website. I was looking forward to see Valentine in the Vineyard, especially since I’ve seen and enjoyed the first two movies in this particular series; Autumn in the Vineyard and Summer in the Vineyard. However, I was concerned about how the possible “planning-a-wedding-in-an-unrealistic-time-period” cliché would be incorporated into the film’s narrative. But I still chose to watch this film because I wanted to know what happens in this series’ next chapter. Thanks for joining me for this review, as I’m about to talk about Valentine in the Vineyard!
Things I liked about the film:
- The acting: I really liked the cast of Valentine in the Vineyard! What helped was having the main cast members from the first two films return for the third installment. Once again, Brendan Penny and Rachael Leigh Cook did a great job portraying Nate and Frankie! Both of their performances appeared very natural, as if they were reacting to real-life situations. This made it easier for me to stay invested in what was happening in Nate and Frankie’s lives. I also liked the performances of the supporting cast! As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, I have seen Teryl Rothery is several Hallmark productions. Therefore, I knew how talented of an actress she is. Her portrayal as Frankie’s aunt was such a pleasant surprise, her character’s sweet and sassy personality was a joy to watch on-screen and it was hilarious! Stephanie Bennett’s portrayal of Shay Michaels was also a pleasant surprise, with her performance being so good that it made her character very likable!
- The on-screen chemistry: Like in the first two movies, Brendan Penny and Rachael Leigh Cook had really good on-screen chemistry! Because of this, it made it look like Nate and Frankie’s relationship has truly been growing over the course of the series. I also liked how the other on-screen couples had good on-screen chemistry. Marco and Lexi appeared as if they truly got along because Marcus Rosner and Tegan Moss did that good of a job with their acting performances! Seeing Gabe and Shay’s relationship evolve over the course of the film was nice to see! This is not only because of Stephanie Bennett and Madison Smith’s performances, but also because the audience got a chance to learn more about these characters.
- A unique perspective on Valentine’s Day: Hallmark usually does a good job at incorporating Valentine’s Day into their films. While Valentine in the Vineyard has no shortage of decorations and a festive color palette, this movie looks at Valentine’s Day from a unique perspective. The story put a lot of focus on what exactly makes a relationship romantic. A great example of this are the gifts that Frankie and Nate plan on exchanging for Valentine’s Day. These gifts not only help them better understand their significant other, but the gifts also help them improve their own lives. I have never really seen Hallmark explore the building blocks of a specific couples’ relationship. But because this is the third movie in a series, I think this creative choice worked well for Valentine in the Vineyard.
What I didn’t like about the film:
- A slower pace: While watching this movie, I noticed that the pace was slower than in the first two films. This caused the film is feel a little drawn out.
- Too much going on at once: In Valentine in the Vineyard, there were five plots within this story. Because of this, I honestly felt a little overwhelmed by what was going on in the film. It seemed like there was too much going on in the movie, as if the creative team behind the project tried to accomplish too much at once. This aspect of the film affected my overall movie-viewing experience.
- Limited amount of humor: I found this movie to be not as funny as the previous installments. While there was humor to be found, there wasn’t as much of it as I was expecting. An example of this is any scenes involving the vineyard’s llama. In the first two movies, the llama provided some of the film’s comic relief. In Valentine in the Vineyard, however, the llama just seems like an after-thought.
My overall impression:
Valentine in the Vineyard was a decent movie. However, this film was not as strong as the first two films. My biggest issue with the movie was how much material was packed into this story. This not only affected my experience of watching this film, it made me feel just as overwhelmed as the situations made the characters feel. But it was nice to see Nate and Frankie’s relationship progress through-out this movie as well as this series. Everything about their relationship is so sweet and genuine, which helps make these characters so likable. I don’t know if Hallmark is planning to continue this series, but I hope a fourth movie is made and called “Christmas in the Vineyard”. If you think about it, we’ve never received a Hallmark Christmas movie that takes place in a vineyard. It would be something new for the network to incorporate into one of their stories.
Overall score: 7.1 out of 10
Have you seen any of Hallmark’s “Vineyard” movies? Would you like to see Hallmark create “Christmas in the Vineyard? Tell me in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!