For a few minutes, I thought Hallmark might have actually made a movie that deviated from the very familiar "high school sweethearts reconnect and realize they still love each other" formula.
Abby, played by the perfectly cast Amanda Schull, has a fiancé who seems really nice. Typically, the audience is given an early clue as to how wrong the current boyfriend/fiancé is. But not here. In fact, not only is Edward great in their first scenes together, he's great and unbelievably understanding during a FaceTime call after he learns his fiancée is still married.
How cool would it be, I thought, if Hallmark turned the trope upside down? What if Abby went back home, met up with her first love, and realized "the past is the past"? And came back with a renewed commitment to Edward?
Nah. This is Hallmark after all.
Still, it was refreshing not to have the current boyfriend be unlikeable. And it was easy to empathize with Abby's legitimate frustration with Luke ("stop talking in riddles!").
Luke was played by Brennan Elliot, a solid Hallmark vet who pretty much always gets the girl. So, any seasoned Hallmark movie watching vet knew exactly how this movie would end. The only question was: would we buy into that ending as one that made sense? I had my doubts.
But the movie surprised me. The ending was earned.
And I was very impressed with how Abby was so well written by Robert Tate Miller and so well played by Amanda Schull. I also really liked a little scene that seemed like a clever homage and wink to the attorney roles that Schull has played in the past (Suits, Murder in the First).
I liked Leo, played by Bill Marchant ("anger fades quickly, but love is forever").
Why wasn't the amusement park open more often? And how could they just wander through it when it was closed? No gates? No security?
Why didn't successful Senior Vice President Abby hire a lawyer?
I'm a lawyer in California, but it seems unlikely in the extreme that an Oregon judge would prepare, fill out, and give Abby and Luke the documents that they needed to get divorced. That's something they or their attorneys are supposed to do. Plus, you can't just show up in court a day or two after realizing you're still married and get divorced. That's just not how it works, and it reminded me of a nearly identical plot, with an even more ridiculous approach to the "law" (Autumn Dreams).
I liked the actor who played the Judge (Everick Golding). And, FYI, judges can void their own judgments if requested to do so by both parties.
But even the best Hallmark movies have a few flaws.