When there’s a good story to be told, I confess, I like familial dramas. Sometimes the reasons behind the rivalry that keeps a family – or in this case, more specifically, siblings apart, is actually a good enough reason (we all know sometimes the reasons can be exaggerated at times) and with this one, I bought it, which makes this sweet, festive TV film a nice rainy night sort of movie to curl up with.
Banner 4th of July (2013) Hallmark TV Movie Review
The Banner siblings once had the world at their fingertips. Their one-night hometown show during an annual fourth of July festival placed them in the spotlight as superstars. This meant the greater part of their teenage years consisted of playing shows and cutting records. Now, years later, everything is different.
Mitchell Banner (Christian Campbell) is finally calling his sister… only he doesn’t want to reconnect with Desiree (Brooke White) by choice, instead it’s on behalf of their older brother, Johnny (Michael Barbuto). Johnny is still living in their small hometown, and in the aftermath of their mother’s, Rosalind (Mercedes Ruehl), health scare, he wants everyone to come home. If only it were that simple…
There are some especially great moments in this film. I had it a couple weeks prior to the July 4th holiday, but then forgot about it. Only to turn around and conveniently remember it in time to watch it on its celebrated holiday. Needless to say, it’s the perfect 90 minutes to cap off a good holiday. I like a lot about it, not the least of which is the interaction between siblings. Sometimes the acting does come across a tiny bit stilted, overall it seems a“natural” progression of events, feelings and resentment for the other person; usually because no one wants to take the blame for the reasons why they don’t speak any more.
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As a family film, this title (also titled Star Spangled Banners and more recently A Family Reunion) is really good for its status. Some viewers may be disappointed in the reason why they reconnect; or more specifically how they reunite, but it didn’t long-term affect the enjoyment. Not only will fans of Hallmark probably enjoy this, music lovers should as well. There are some cool songs that help to tell a story, and best of all, they’re written and recorded by the stars; something that lends authenticity to the production.
In addition to the main cast, which consists of a country music singer (White), there is also a cute subplot involving a secondary character who Kristin Booth plays, and any diehard fan will recognize her from Signed, Sealed, Delivered. She plays a sassy local though the hair color may throw you just a bit. Anyone who wants Hallmark’s signature “romantic comedy” status quo won’t find it here as that focus shifts to let the siblings and the healing of their relationship take center stage. For this type of story, I like that. It’s better for the narrative, and allows us to read into what the future will hold without feeling like anything is rushed to conclusion. Plus, the ending is darling – and proof that not all of the people who move away make decisions to suddenly leave behind their big-city life (like, is that a crime??) to move home.
Independence Day may have come and gone for 2014, but let’s face it, it’s never out of season to celebrate America.See Brooke White in #Hallmark's Banner #4thofJuly (aka 'A Family Reunion'): When the Way of Music Heals. Find this on @HMNow or #digital! Click To Tweet
Photos: Hallmark Channel