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Movie Critique - My Secret Valentine

For review of all movies released by Hallmark Channel, go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: It is a charming movie, though neither Chabert and Walker are Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks or Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart. Yet, it entertains you enough to watch it, like it and have fun along.

My Secret Valentine is a 2018 Hallmark Channel original movie released as part of their Countdown to Valentine's Day special in February of 2018. It stars Lacey Chabert, Andrew W. Walker; Peter MacNeill and Cindy Sampson in the lead cast. Story written by Carrie Freedle, it's directed by Bradley Walsh and produced by David Anselmo. 

Chloe Grange (portrayed by Lace Chabert) comes back to her hometown for a holiday and gets surprised by the news that her father, Truman Grange (portrayed by Peter MacNeill), decided to retire and sell their winery to a box-wine company. Seth Anderson (portrayed by Andre W. Walker), the sales rep from the company, comes to town for the deal. Chloe and Seth start off their business meeting on a wrong foot. In the meanwhile, Chloe keeps receiving chalkboard notes from the tenant of their cabin. What follows is a fun and romantic story of falling in love, finding a middle ground with business and identifying what one needs for oneself.

The 1998 American romantic comedy You've Got Mail is one of my all-time favorite film and have posted a number of times about it. Of course it has been adapted from the 1940 American romantic comedy film The Shop Around the Corner, which I have seen and posted about as well. However, the central concept is about two people who exchange emails (in You've got mail) or letters (in The Shop Around the Corner) and fall in love, while in-person there are bitter enemies.

That central concept is what attracted me to this movie by Hallmark as well. Of course, it is a "rinse, repeat and reuse" type of method that Hallmark usually approaches with their stories, but this time I like their adaptation of the original concept.

Both Lacey Chabert and Andrew Walker are among my favorite Hallmark actors. I usually like their movies and don’t miss them. The chemistry between them is definitely there along with the timing of comedy. They make a cute couple. This is their first on-screen pairing together, although both of them have been in dozens of Hallmark Channel Original Movies. 

Chabert's Chloe is a successful manager at a top restaurant, trying to find something more for herself with regards to work and life. Walker's Seth comes off as an overconfident sales rep, but slowly shows is inner goodness and his struggle to do the right thing for Chloe. In the midst, both are exchanging chalkboard notes unbeknownst to each other that they are the ones writing. Fun and romantic, all the markings of a Hallmark film.

Seth as "Handyman" and Chloe as "In Need of Repairs" exchange these cute little chalkboard notes all through the film. It was fun to see them fall in love, but more fun when Seth's Handyman knows the truth first and tries to hide in the name of greater good.

The writer even emulates the famous restaurant scene from the parent movies - where the heroine is waiting for our hero, who she hadn't met at all in-person, and the hero realizes that the heroine is his arch business rival. The adaptation also was done cutely, although not in its entirety.

As always with Hallmark, they give a very very happy ending to Seth and Chloe's love story in more ways than one. Hallmark sure does show life through rose-tinted glasses, but I like to watch them as it takes one away from the daily routine, makes you forget your own problems. Although they make you shed a lot of tears, especially for me. 

It is a charming movie, though neither Chabert and Walker are Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks or Margaret Sullivan and James Stewart. Yet, it entertains you enough to watch it, like it and have fun along. Now it makes me want to watch You've Got Mail or The Shop Around the Corner all over again!

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Movie Trivia:

a. Cindy Sampson portrays the role of Taylor, Seth's boss. However I remember seeing her in The Private Eyes, the Canadian comedy-drama television show. She portrayed the role of Angela Susan "Angie" Everett, a private investigator, working along-side Matthew Kevin "Matt" ("Shadow") Shade (portrayed by Jason Priestley), a hockey player turned private investigator. Cindy makes a tough boss in this film.

b. The winery where some of the film was shot is in fact called as The Grange of Price Edward and is located in Prince Edward County in Canada.

c. The Granger Family Vineyards & Winery red truck looks very similar to the red truck that floats around in the Hallmark Channel's Christmas in Evergreen movie series. So far three movies have been made as part of that series since 2017. The first was Christmas in Evergreen released in 2017, followed by Christmas in Evergreen: Letters To Santa in 2018, and then the 2019 Christmas In Evergreen: Tidings Of Joy. I wonder if they will make another one this year. 

2) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Character Errors:

a. In the beginning of the movie, Chloe calls the wine as Grange Cab Frank instead of "Franc". And she corrects it later during the second half of the film.

b. The aerial view of the red truck shows as though there is only one case of wine in it. However the scenes before that and after shows multiple cases.

c. Chloe places the hammer in front of the toolbox with it's head facing left. But in a later scene when Seth finds the hammer, it's head is facing right.

d. The finger placement of Chloe on the phone when she is talking with her boss changes between scenes. 


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