Hallmark films are like a warm fuzzy sweater. You can sit down to their latest original movie knowing that even if it’s a story you don’t relate to as well as some of them, you’ll laugh and be able to feel all swoon-y in the end. Known for their outstanding line of Christmas films, as we watch When Sparks Fly, we also learn the network knows how to do other holidays – and do them up right.
When Sparks Fly (2014) Hallmark Review
This story follows small-town Washington girl, Amy Peterson (Meghan Markle) who has dreams of becoming a well-respected journalist, but instead of taking an intern position closer to home, she accepts a position that will enable her dreams. In Chicago.
Seven years later, Amy is feeling lost in her work, and still hasn’t been able to settle into her boyfriend’s world. A life all about parties, and dining out at French restaurants serving food she can’t pronounce. The timing seems perfect for her to head home again when she gets the go-ahead to write a story related to her family’s pyrotechnics business, and then discovers her ex, Hank (Christopher Jacot) is still living in their hometown. The romcom catch? He’s about to be married.
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This film immediately wraps its viewer up in a sweet premise and the charm of the small-town setting. Despite the familiarity with the script, I did like that there were a few twists and turns to this set up and it was one I’ve not seen often. Normally if a wedding plot trope is in play, it doesn’t involve a best friend and an ex; and while I was skeptical about this, it works out well enough. If there is a fault, it’s the end being just a bit “too perfect.” But, of course, like all of the films on this network, When Sparks Fly (also known as Oh Say Can You See) is darling.
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What’s most interesting for me is to see Meghan Markle in a different role than that of her weekly gig on USA Network in Suits. By all accounts, her role there is a more “provocative” (as Hallmark puts it) role than her small town character of Amy. A role she plays with ease. What also does develop well in this rekindled romance is how the writers don’t make the characters immediately pull away (Hank) or lean on (Amy) each other in a “needy” kind of way. Time passes before Amy realizes her heart may not be healing. Despite the tricky subject, there isn’t an instantaneous “spark” between the two. Bottom line, it’s nice to see less of an “insta love” connection (or one of those heroine/heroes who is pining after an ex) and more of a “grown-up” kind of rekindling.
If you enjoy sweet love stories or are in the mood for something that sparkles with festive fun, you’ll enjoy this cheerful original. The wedding shenanigans go a teeny bit over the top, but like the tagline of its network, the film is all heart and spunk. That’s a winning combination any of us can get behind.