‘THE MAKEOVER’: Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation Re-Makes ‘My Fair Lady.’ Julia Stiles & David Walton co-star in this Hallmark rom-com. © Rissi JC

‘THE MAKEOVER’: Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation Re-Makes ‘My Fair Lady’

January 29, 2013 22 Comments

She may not have achieved the status of “America’s Sweetheart” or name recognition of Reese Witherspoon yet Julia Stiles has had her share of “sweetheart” roles. Her popularity has fallen off since some teen movies of the 1990’s, and still she has impressive credits. Now this adorable romantic-comedy can be added to her résumé.

The Makeover (2013) Hallmark Hall of Fame TV Review

Coming in close to her competitor in a race for congress, Hannah Higgins (Stiles) concedes her candidacy. Along with business partner Colleen (Camryn Manheim), she goes back to her educational consulting work. Armed with perfect speech, Hannah has a think about butchering the English language.

Some months later, fate hands Hannah a second chance at a special election run but campaign consultants have some stipulations; Hannah needs to change. Unable to stand the thought of adopting a posture that is less than perfect or to change her look, a new opportunity presents itself. She meets, the common worker, Elliot (David Walton), and a new strategy develops.

Even if you don’t have a working knowledge of The Makeover going in, in ten minutes flat, it’s quite obvious what writer’s plan to do. The only difference in this Pygmalian-esque film is the role reversal of Higgins and Eliza Doolittle. It’s a clever script believe it or not, adding enough familiarity to make the story’s inspiration evident but keeping true to its own traditions and “twists” – the results of which are usually quite humorous; it’s the little things that hold it together! Whether it be Hannah’s unwillingness to try things she deems “improper” or Elliot’s patience with a girl who infuriates him and infatuates him in a single swoop, there is a quality to this which many in its genre try for though rarely achieve.  

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‘THE MAKEOVER’: Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation Re-Makes ‘My Fair Lady.’ Julia Stiles and David Walton co-star in this Hallmark Hall of Fame rom-com. Text © Rissi JC
‘THE MAKOVER’: Hallmark Hall of Fame Presentation Re-Makes ‘My Fair Lady’ Click To Tweet

Set in Boston, many situations feel a bit nostalgic only because of Hannah’s fabulous characterization. Despite a perfect dialect, she is in need of some people skills. Her dialect is a large part of what shapes Hannah into who she is as a character, which feels like “two parts.” One part an Austen heroine (because of her old-fashion, proper English) and then also the stuffy professor. Two minutes before the end, we are particularly struck with just how readily Hannah is to judge and treat people as “experiments” by her own admission.

Then there is Elliot. It may seem petty to say this but it’s a delicate business in movies to “make over” a main protagonist. The Makeover manages it well; he isn’t painfully overplayed as a crass, bachelor male with no manners. Instead, true he’s a slightly unkempt working Bostonian (accent fully intact) who is a kind-hearted guy. It makes him a compelling character that we don’t mind; and in fact root for, watching change into someone else because where it counts, he remains the same. 

Stories that remake a character physically isn’t a new idea. Some do this premise with pizzazz and class, then there are others that are more a waste of good time. Fortunately, producer Brent Shields pulls together a scenario that’s classy and really, quite fun. Early on, there’s a couple of especially campy moments (particularly when considering how the special election comes about) that make me question how seriously to take the film. 

Fortunately, these elements are quickly dispensed with and in its place is a delightful little gem. The acting is fabulous and the writer is no stranger to some great comedy. It’s pleasant to see some of the usual clichés not playing out (two examples come to mind). Then the ending banter is quite cute even if the movie doesn’t end cementing the future exactly as some viewers wish for.

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

You can find The Makeover digitally on Amazon, with a Hallmark Movies Now add on.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Benlovesting January 29, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    So awesome!

    • Rissi January 30, 2013 at 3:23 am

      Thank you. :)

  • Kellie January 29, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    FYI….big long response to your comment on blog! ;)

    • Rissi January 30, 2013 at 3:23 am

      Yay! Saw it and respected what you had to say. Great conversation, Kellie!

  • Rosie January 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    I truthfully didn't like My Fair Lady, so I'm not sure how I'd like this telling. Regardless though, great review! :D

    • Rissi January 30, 2013 at 3:30 am

      Really!? I don't think I've met anyone who doesn't like that classic. There is nothing wrong with that though. My mother isn't as fond of the movie as I but only because she doesn't like the casting of Rex Harrison. This one is "different" enough (no singing, and much less focus on the "perfect speech" lessons) that even non-fans may like it.

      If you do ever see it, I hope you enjoy, Rosie. :)

  • Anonymous January 29, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    this sounds good, I have heard of Julia Stiles, although I'm not sure from where.
    In response to your comment about Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift's duet, I have not heard it yet, and I'm not sure if I will. I LOVE Ed Sheeran but I am not a fan of Taylor Swift. A lot of people declare me crazy, but I just don't get the hype about her. :P Hope you're New Year is going well!

    • Rissi January 30, 2013 at 3:27 am

      It was super cute, Juliet. One of Hallmark Hall of Fame's best rom-coms yet. :) Hope you are able to check it out sometime.

      Oh, never fear about any T. Swift comments you may have. Taylor Swift is often on my iPod because her songs are catchy but I don't get all the awards she has won. Vocally she is not at all close to others in her field. Musically and lyrically she has grown and her music is better as a result. In that way, she is talented. Her album, Red is really different, even a bit folk-sy.

      2013 has been great so far! Hope your year is shaping up to be wonderful also. :)

  • his little lady January 31, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Aw, I absolutely love her ever since 10 Things I Hate About You, so I'm excited to watch this movie! Great review as always, girl!
    xo TJ

    • Rissi January 31, 2013 at 7:54 pm

      Never saw that one, TJ. The cutest movie I saw with her was the one with the prince. Still one of my faves to this day. :) Have you seen her in the 'Bourne' flicks? She has a small role but does a great job.

      Hope you enjoy this one – it's really cute! :)

  • Sophia February 1, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Just found your blog and I love it! Follow mine?


    P.S. Is that really you in the header?

    • Rissi February 1, 2013 at 1:04 am

      Why thank you, Sophia. I appreciate the follow and comment – hopefully you'll find this a helpful place. Do visit often. :)

      No, the header is a photo shoot of the stars in one of my most favorite television shows. It was such a fun set of photos, I couldn't resist using them – in fact, this is probably the second time I've used this set! It's just that cute. :) The only place you may sometime see a photo of me is on my Twitter profile though it isn't right now.

      Off to follow your blog. (LOVE your profile pic.)

    • Sophia February 1, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks for commenting and for following me back! Aw, well they're REALLY cute pictures so I can understand why you used them. :)

    • Rissi February 1, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      My pleasure, Sophia. I will look forward to any future postings you share. :)

      Yes, they are! I love this shoot and really, any photo shot with these two. The chemistry of their character's still comes through. It's as if they keep in character. :)

  • birdienl February 1, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I checked out the trailer after reading your review and it looks really nice –> of it goes onto my ever growing list of movies to watch!

    • Rissi February 1, 2013 at 11:32 pm

      This movie was SUPER cute, Birdienl! As a rom-com, it avoids two common clichés and that is always to be appreciated. Hope you get to see it sometime – I fell in love with its charm. :)

  • Jeanine (Wayfaring Girl) February 2, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Ohh this looks good. I will keep my eyes out for this one. The last movie I saw Julia in was The Prince and I–number 5 or something haha…Wondered where she's been…seems like she fell off the face of the planet for awhile… :)J

    • Rissi February 2, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      Hey, there, Jeanine! Glad to see you here. :)

      Actually this is a wonderful movie! It avoids some clichés and I loved it's spin on 'My Fair Lady.' Hope you enjoy.

      Ha! Yes, Prince and Me is one of my most favorite movies. Ever. Sadly though the leading actor was in the immediate follow-up sequel, Julia never was in the other movies. :/ She was however in the 'Bourne' movies (with Damon) playing a much different yet still cool character. :) Here's to hoping this TV movie will be the start of something big. :)

      Happy weekend, girl!

  • Little Lady February 3, 2013 at 1:25 am

    Yup – def want to see this!!!!

    • Rissi February 4, 2013 at 5:31 pm

      Cool! It's pretty awesome, Micah; hope you enjoy. :)

  • Camille February 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    This looks cute! I'm a "Fair Lady" fan, & I've seen a few things with Stiles, so I'll have to give it a try.
    I heard rumor Emma Thompson is screen-playing a new Fair Lady film. Can't remember who is in it…maybe Carrie Mulligan? I'm kinda wishy-washy when it comes to remakes – some I adore (after pretending I won't even consider watching it), & some I loathe. Right now I'm really on the fence about the Underwood "Sound of Music," as I've got a lot of love for the original. Emma Thompson seems to do a good job, so I'm looking forward to her work on MFL.

    You know, when I was little I never got Rex Harrison's character, but the older I get I enjoy his character more – he's just this cranky old man I find funny & endearing (but personally would never get together with, just in a "awww, he's like my grandpa" kind of way).

    • Rissi February 8, 2013 at 6:58 pm

      Writer's did a fantastic job modernizing this, Camille. Some complained that Hannah (Stiles) wasn't likable yet I found her an interesting character. It makes the lead up to what she admits in final five minutes particularly "hard-hitting." Enjoy!

      Yes! Emma Thompson is supposed to be writing a new version of My Fair Lady. Given what a good job she's done in that past, I suspect this story will be in good hands with her. Carey has been a name rumored as has Kiera Knightly.

      Usually I am perfectly fine with re-makes. In the instance of 'Sound of Music,' I'm thrilled (provided the cast is good) because it's going to be more of a stage adaptation. Keeping my fingers crossed, it'll be a good one!

      My mother never didn't like Rex Harrison in MFL. He's fine but I'd like to see someone I REALLY like in the new version. ;D

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