For awhile now, I've wanted to review books, movies, and books to movie adaptations, so getting this opportunity to review an upcoming film as the launch pad, is exciting. So let's get started.
Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a HUGE Facts of Life fan, even though I was born in the 90s. Thank god, for the internet and websites like Hulu an Youtube. The new Hallmark original film, "Hearts of Spring" stars Facts of Life alum Lisa Whelchel, who played Blair Warner, and Michael Shanks. However, the main focal point is that Lisa's on screen daughter is played by her own real-life daughter, Clancy Cauble, in her television debut. I was impressed to hear that Whelchel came up with the original story of the film, somewhat based off of her own life. Much props to Whelchel as she makes her way back to our television screens.
So, i ended up watching the film twice, once to enjoy the film, and the second time to write a review. To give a brief synopsis, Hearts of Spring is a film about a mother raising a teenage daughter who is about to go off to college, who runs a blog about parenting under the alias BestieMom. A frequent commenter, or some would see as a polite troll, named JugglingDad, is raising a teenage son and doesn't agree with her parenting views. Of course, you can see where this one is going: the two are attracted to each other, not knowing who each other is. Since it's Hallmark, I think you can guess how they tie up everything with a nice, neat bow. But, that's also what hooks us, its what gets us to return to Hallmark and watch their films. However, there were some twists and turns I didn't see, so Hallmark did surprise me in that aspect.
I was escited to see Whelchel's return to the screen after "For Better or For Worse" another Hallmark film, based off of the novel of the same name by Diann Hunt. Hunt is one of my favorite authors so I was excited to see the book being made into a film and to see that Lisa would star in it. After working in that film, with another Facts of Life alum Kim Fields, it was great to see her find a place she fit and create another film on the channel.
Overall, the film was nice. I felt the beginning was pretty slow and took forever to bring up the plot point of the film, whereas the trailer and released summaries of the film essentially give it away within 5 seconds. Whatever happened to trailers wanting to hook the viewers? But I'm digressing. Sticking true to Hallmark fashion, the film was sticky sweet, but that's not a bad thing. It had some good comedic points, some of which had me laughing, and some I felt would have been better even with the background music adding to it. Don't get me started on Awkward Date, or AD as I'll refer to him. On one hand I cringed at AD, and on the other hand I died laughing because it was so awkward it was funny. Although, he was a fairly better than Female Awkward Date aka FAD. Whelchel has stated that she likes comedic roles, she was on a sitcom for nine years, and you can tell she's grown a an actress by using her facial features to get the humor across instead of needing to use her body to do so.
The acting in the film is pretty good, could have been better in some places. What really got me was the casting of the film. You don't know how overjoyed I was to see that they actually cast young adults (who played the teens) to actually resemble their parents. However, in Whelchel's case, they just looked at her family. As mentioned above, her own daughter Clancy Cauble, plays her on-screen daughter. To be honest, there were some points in the film where I felt they could have just picked any blonde haired, green eyed actress and put her in Clancy's role, and then you'd have a mother/daughter pairing. However, there's something about Clancy that drew me to her. It's something about the energy or the way she portrays the character - its very easy to have someone like her character to come across as annoying or just following the crowd. Clancy made her standout and likeable. She's an actress I'll keep an eye on in the future.
Like previously stated, i ended up watching the film twice, once to enjoy the film, and the second time to write a review. Okay, so I also watched it a second time cause I was kind of blindsided at how good looking the actor playing teenage son was. :) All in all, if you want to watch a heartwarming film about parenting in the digital age, preparing yourself for your children to go off to school, and understanding the way relationships change then this is the film for you. Everything just felt believable, and being a young twenty-something, i really enjoyed that I could understand to the parents and the children. There's not much I would change about this film.
Well, okay, there is one thing: the title of the website Whelchel's character blogs on - Parenting for the Soul, and obvious play off of Chicken Soup for the Soul. I know it's Hallmark, but it could have been a more enticing title, like "Facts of Life - Lessons Parenting Taught Me". See what i did there? :)
"Hearts of Spring" will air on Hallamark on Saturday, April 9th at 9pm/8pm CT
"Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you." - Walt Whitman