January 26, 2015

movie monday: 'love by the book'

Blogger's Note: It's no secret I devote much of December to following the latest (and past-time favorite) Hallmark movies. So I was thrilled to learn the channel would count down to Valentine's Day with a new movie each weekend leading up to the holiday. Naturally, I couldn't resist watching, live-tweeting, and ultimately blogging about my take on each new flick.

Love By the Book
Original air date: Jan. 24
Starring Leah Renee and Kristopher Turner
After a childhood filled with reading fairytales, bookstore owner Emma believes in handsome princes and happily ever afters.  Unlike her happily married coworkers Marilyn and Phil, or her sister Jane and Jane’s fiancé Greg, Emma has yet to be swept away in her own fairytale romance. Trying to find the time to both pursue an idyllic love life and to impress her store’s investor, Frank, Emma must balance dating the romantic Landon with working at her store with Frank’s nettlesome son, Eric.
Although Landon demonstrates real prince charming potential with his romantic overtures, he doesn’t understand her priorities or support her passions like Eric does.  As Emma considers her future, can she take on the challenges of real love instead of storybook romance?
Probably my third favorite (so far) of the new Hallmark movies being premiered to countdown to Valentine's Day, Love By the Book has a lot to offer a Jane Austen fan (or an Austenite if you will) like me. As you'll notice in my Twitter commentary, I kept looking for the parallels to Austen's works, particularly with the male suitors.

While I stand by my assessment that Eric--or as I affectionately dubbed him during the viewing, Prince Eric--is a mixture of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightley (the former, because he comes in seemingly pompous, but we learn first impressions aren't always the most important; the latter, because he's quick to offer constructive, though not always welcome, criticism to a woman named Emma)--I'm still trying to figure out a few of the other male roles.

Initially, I assumed his rival would be a Wickham/Churchill character, but he never went bad boy enough. Which I get, and all, but man, that could have been a lot of fun to watch the good boy go bad. I also wondered who Emma's potential future brother-in-law might be, but I didn't see a strong enough likeness to Mr. Bingley or Mr. Martin to make that association. (For a moment it seemed like he might be heading the way of a Mr. Collins or a Mr. Elton, but luckily that was a save.) And I suppose with Emma's sister being named Jane, I could call her man-friend Bing, but I don't know.

So the guessing game was definitely the most fun part of this movie for me. While I enjoyed the relationship between Emma and her sister, I would have liked to see more of that. It might have made Emma a bit more sympathetic initially, though I suppose that's very much like the book Emma. In the book, our heroine isn't always the nicest person, and she drives you a little nuts, but you ultimately love her.

A cute movie I wouldn't mind watching again, Love By the Book was an overall enjoyable way to spend two hours on a quiet Saturday evening. (Now I feel like I need to say something like "capital, capital" or "splendid" to feel adequately Austenesque.)

Did any of you catch Love By the Book? What were your thoughts?

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