When it comes to the Hallmark Channel, foreign audiences are often wary of production and script quality. The American network has several titles (especially romantic comedy) in its portfolio, but, as it usually guarantees a good part of the budget for production design, elements such as script, cast and even the direction of the project ends up counting on more beginners or even amateurs.
Prime Video has a kind of partnership with the channel, which means that many of its films are distributed in different territories and reaching an audience beyond the US. Our love story is one of them, and although it has this preconception of being a Hallmark feature, it is not wrong to say that we find here an above-average feature film with a story capable of entertaining.
Set in a fictional town called Waterford, we are introduced to young Jamie (Maggie Lawson, the eternal detective Juliet O’Hara in the series Psych), passionate about love stories and owner of a bookstore and cafe. One day, however, she and all the local shopkeepers discover that a major development is about to arrive, threatening the business district.
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Willing to do anything not to close the doors, she just didn’t have a small problem: who runs this new business establishment is none other than Sawyer (Samuel Page, from The Bold Type), her ex-boyfriend.
Romantic comedies and their famous clichés
That said, it is no irony of fate, let alone a mere coincidence, that the plot of Our love story be very similar to the classic romantic comedy Message for you. In fact, the film by Scott Smith (from the independent rollercoaster, 1999) does not offer much novelty in its plot.
With the fight between commercial establishments, a kind of ex-lovers to enemies to lovers, where even with both parties purely convinced that there are no feelings left over from their high school days, everyone knows what will happen half an hour later.
In parallel, there are still the stories of best friends in love with each other and who refuse to tell the truth for fear of the friendship ending. That’s what happens with Rick (Marco Grazzini) and Lucy (Zibby Allen), two colleagues who work at Jamie’s bookstore and whose attraction is mutual, but the story ends up taking up all the time of the film, although it is treated in a supporting way.
And, finally, there is also the sudden jealousy due to the appearance of an ex-boyfriend of Jamie’s, added to the story to move the dynamics of the protagonists. It is valid to say that, although Hallmark was right in the choice of the cast, with two actors with enough experience in television not to deliver something amateur, it lacked the simple check to verify if there was chemistry between them, which unfortunately does not exist.
O’Hara and Page are having fun in their roles, leading to romcom as a beautiful escape from everyday stress (as it works for all of us in front of television), but unfortunately, as much as there is a friendship behind the camera, not even that feeling managed to resonate with their characters.
In the end, it’s almost natural for the viewer to wait to see the commercial developments unfold in the feature film rather than actually rooting for the main couple to end up together.
Too many stories
The simple capitalist clash that divides a large corporation on the one hand and traditional local commerce on the other already provides enough material to unfold a series of events in A love story, but Tracy Andreen and Deborah Jones’ weak script is so thirsty for open parentheses and branching arcs in its story that it easily forgets them open and unexplained.
In addition to the introduction (quite unnecessary, by the way) of an ex-boyfriend in the 40 minutes of the film, the duo also adds a couple founding Jamie’s bookstore to the plot, in a moment when she finds a kind of diary with vows of love and romantic letters in your store.
Closed to any kind of romance due to past traumas, but obsessed with making her bookstore a point of marriage proposals and first dates, what seems here is that the script and direction were not sure what to do with the very high barriers they built. around your character.
What was left, then, was to rekindle a flame in the protagonist with stories that are not even her own. This is also due to the lack of chemistry between her and her screen partner, which is evident when her characters could rediscover the meaning of love on their own just by reliving theirs.
The verdict, however, does not make Our love story a throwaway movie: Hallmark knows how to invest its budget in beautiful landscapes, costumes and a beautiful setting to make Waterford a city at the top of any romantic tourist’s wish list.
The duration, with less than 90 minutes, also helps a lot in this aspect, as it does not stretch out so many clichés to the point of making the film tiresome. O’Hara has fun, and for a moment it is interesting to see the genuine interest of the population in saving the local commerce and tradition, but the true purpose of the story, which is precisely to propose a romance, ends up going down the drain.
Our love story is available on Prime Video.