Monday, January 21, 2019

Breakdown of a Hallmark Movie

I am a sucker for Hallmark Movies. Who can argue with unrequited love, romance, and happily ever after?  - well anyone who is willing to suspend reality. But, for now, we can all enjoy a nice glass of wine and enjoy a sickeningly sweet story, fair to middling acting, and a predicable plot. 

After several years of watching these melodramas, I think I have come upon the (not so) secret formula.

The main characters usually involve one of the following

  • a young lady in a predictably doomed relationship
  • a widowed or divorced parent
  • a prince (or princess)
  • sports figure
There is usually:
  • a fall festival
  • winter carnival
  • hometown production
  • flower show
  • pie bake off
  • deadline for some up and coming writer
  • ball (or gala)
Venues include:
  • a ski resort
  • small town
  • book store
  • restaurant
  • (previously unknown) kingdom
  • farm (or dude ranch)
  • vineyard
There is always at least one or more of the following:
  • a parent concerned about their child's happiness
  • the best friend trying to show the main character the obvious
  • a significant other in the background  who
    • is clueless about the status of the relationship
    • has strayed from the relationship
    • is an ass
    • has some financial interest in the protagonist
  • emotional confusion
  • a royal prince or princess from a small unknown European principality trying to hide their real identity
  • a monarch trying to steer their child in the right direction to save the kingdom
  • a royal female (princess, duchess, lady) who is supposedly destined to marry the prince in an arranged affair (usually to save the kingdom)
  • a well known celebrity - writer, actor, sports hero, artist
What you will find is:
  • abstainess, less a beer or 2 shared by the guys, the occasional glass wine or champagne 
  • innocent kisses
  • that look between the 2 that lingers
  • each character exchanging looks back as they part
  • a lot of hand holding
What you will not find:
  • a reference to sex, nudity, drugs or violence
  • excessive PDA
The end will offer
  • a common female protagonist who appears at the ball in a couture gown
  • winning the pie, pumpkin, cookie bake off
  • saving the ranch, the restaurant, the small business
But to get to that end, there is a formula
  • there will be a "significant other" in the picture (albeit usually just alluded to, glimpsed in the early minutes of the movie, heard in phone conversations, etc.)
  • some effort (planning the festival or gala, saving the business, facing fears)
  • 20 before the end there will be an interrupted kiss
  • affirmation of an attraction between the 2 main characters
  • reemergence of the significant other (usually at the worst time possible)
  • 15 minutes prior to the end there will be a misunderstanding
    • an over heard phone conversation
    • a proposal witnessed from the shadows
  • this will result in the spurned lover exiting stage left (no need to stay around)
  • 10 minutes prior to the end the protagonist will search for their loved one, only to find they have left, totally dejected
  • very close to the end, a friend, parent, innocent bystander, queen, or king will reveal the truth of the situation and the spurned loved one will reappear, 
  • the festival will be a hit, the business, farm, vineyard will be saved, etc
  • love conquers all, the final kiss
And, if its a Christmas movie, then everything is escalated
  • chances are there will be a snow ball fight, a sleigh ride, hot chocolate, carolers (or any combination of these)
  • venues that include a small town, a ski resort, or a major city
  • selecting the perfect Christmas tree
  • a good chance Christmas decorations will be involved
I'm not an expert, a writer for Hallmark, whatever. But having seen way too many of these films, I think I know a bit.

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