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The Lost Valentine (2011)


Some love stories have a cheerful demeanor with that instant satisfaction reaction but no lasting impression, others use cheap gimmicks to equate love with something it is not and then there are the rare few that are timeless. The Lost Valentine fits into the last category.

After fifty years, Caroline Thomas (Betty White) is still completely devoted to her husband. February 14th, 1944 was the one day that forever altered her life. A Navy Lieutenant who became a pilot during the war that was the day her Neil shipped out… and never returned. Classified as missing in action, still to this day, Caroline has had a standing date at Grand Central Station on February 14th to uphold her promise to “wait” for Neil. When a news program celebrating the feel-good taste of America learns of this devotional story and the meaning it could have for the viewers, they send in their best journalist. Young, idealistic and a bit cynical, Susan Allison (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is tired of these assignments, despite them being what given her a prosperous career. Still she sets out to get the story for her latest broadcast piece. Bored with the idea in the beginning, Susan comes to empathize with Caroline’s plight. Along with befriending her grandson, Lukas (Sean Faris), Susan becomes invested in the story and sets about trying to give Caroline closure.  

For the past sixty years, Hallmark has brought quality programs to our television screens. In those years, each two-hour tele-film has offered diverse scenarios. This one in particular was their first romance in a long while, or the first to leave any kind of impression. It is not just a fleeting story of romance but one of courage and everlasting – true, love. It’s really not that this is a new concept or that some of the moments can’t be predicted but rather that it retains a kind of beautiful, down-to-earth charm. Some of us might fight the notion of a woman hanging onto her first love for half a century hard to logically accept, and while I can “get” that, it didn’t affect my opinion. Caroline may not have ever continued her life through marriage but she did still live life to its fullest; her son received endless love and she was active socially.  

Since there are two stories edging towards a superior meaning, the movie transfers between modern times and the forties. Flashbacks are idyllic showing both the free, innocent times along with the sadness that encased many on the home front. Music is a lot of fun being of the swinging 40’s genre and a lot of sequences just leave you with a silly smile because they are so wonderfully told. Partly due to its multi-generational arc, filming was really interesting. There were a lot of simplistic perspectives that seemingly are unimportant shots with a purpose to merge those eras in a nostalgic manner. As I always do – being such a particular about the casting and characters that go along with that, kudos must be given to the cast. Despite her being everywhere nowadays, White was never better. Her performance was believable and emotionally charged. Jennifer came off as likable, even by her clichéd characteristics and it was entertaining to see Sean Faris in a role as an adult instead of just a high school president (Yours, Mine and Ours) – in my humble opinion, he has a lot of talent and carries this role with the star-power potential of a leading man (further proof exists in Christmas with Holly). It is always refreshing to come across a story that the entire family can watch, although this is perhaps best seen through the eyes of a more mature audience since it doesn’t have much in the way of easy banter that leads to flowery conclusions.

Hallmark and frequent producer Brent Shields have a unique way of crafting stories that resonate with their audience. I won’t pretend that some have been less than memorable but most are unforgettable because of the picturesque snapshot of life. (Some may know this by The Last Valentine, which is the novel title.) Any story that links two romances can pose serious problems no matter the picture, here the modern day parallels work better than I’d have imagined – just call me a hopeless sentimental. Of course, the recent influx of period dramas set in the 1900’s changed the way I saw this. I was so biased by Jane Austen era dramas that it never occurred to me how catching this timeframe could be, a genre I have learned to appreciate. It pulls the watcher into reflective times of reminiscing, and specifically for this period, a sense of gratitude for the men who fought to give freedom. 

The story does tend to be emotional, it’s a journey of sorts for two very different women, and its one that while I do recommend must also add that you’ll need a hankie. Nevertheless, the romance of the past was just as enchanting as was the current day love story. 

(Parental Concerns: One scene involves gunfire which does kill a man after he is hit in the back; another shows two pilots badly injured.)
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Rissi
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25 comments:

  1. My favorite Hallmark movie next to "Loving Leah" and "The Magic of Ordinary Days" ...oh! and "Sarah Plain and Tall Trilogy" (I guess there were really more favorites than I originally thought)

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    1. These are all excellent choices, Natalie! 'Ordinary Days' (there was a great article on this in the last Femnista) and 'Leah' are so much more than the average romantic drama. Then the 'Sarah, Plain and Tall' trilogy? Yeah, it's a classic! :)

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  2. Hey there... I'm having a writing contest on my blog and would be delighted if you wanted to enter. =)
    ~Aidyl
    http://www.aidylewoh.blogspot.com/2013/02/announcing-writing-contest.html

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    1. Hello, Aidyl! Thank you so much for making me aware of this; it's appreciated. :)

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  3. I'm definitely checking this out!! Thanks for the recommendation, Rissi! You're blog is so useful...as well as just fun. :)

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    1. Oh, it's so good, Kellie! If you like other Hallmark Hall of Fame's, this is worth getting a copy of. :)

      Thanks - as always - for reading! I appreciate that, Kellie!

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  4. Oh this one makes me BAWL! I love this one....I love Sean Faris in it too ;-) Jennifer Love Hewitt is not a favorite of mine (mostly because of her CRAPPY new show on Lifetime), but I do think she does well in the film....

    It's in my DVR waiting for me to record onto a disk!

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    1. It takes a lot for me to cry in a movie but... yes, I'll admit it, I get teary-eyed in this one, Ella. :) That scene at the end with Caroline at the station? That gets to me. So precious and heartbreaking.

      No, Jennifer is not a favorite actress, I agree! Never seen her show but it doesn't look like it's worth watching (saw one movie that she dies in but doesn't really because her boyfriend changes their reality and winds up dying), however yes, Sean is an excellent leading man. ;) Did you ever see the Christmas movie with him? He has proved he can transition from the cute high school guy to a more serious leading man and finally, he plays a single dad character.

      Hope you can get this one onto that disc - it's a keeper. :)

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  5. Looks pretty good... Is it just me or doesn't the actress (in the picture above) look like Jennifer Lawrence? Something about the cheekbone... Happy Valentines Day! Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

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    1. Hmmm... maybe a bit, Sierra. Ironically, both are named, "Jennifer." :)

      If you liked other movies in this series (Hallmark Hall of Fame), you'd probably enjoy this one. Happy (belated) Valentine's Day! Hope you had a nice day.

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  6. I've been thinking about watching this one again in honor of Valentine's Day - such a beautiful movie! It makes me cry so much!! Actually, the first time I watched it was the first time Casey (from the blog "Writing for Christ) came to visit me and my family on one of our vacations. Casey brought this movie, and we started watching it together. By the time it came to the end, most of my family had either come out to watch or were glancing at it from another room, and I couldn't hold back a sob at the powerful ending. So, so beautiful! I love the tribute to our military men and women, and I love the tribute to lasting love and the importance of family. :)

    I now have my own copy of the movie. :) Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it! And Happy Valentine's Day, my friend!

    ~Amber

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    1. What an excellent idea, Amber! That would have been a delightful way to spend the Valentine's Day evening - instead I watched the movie Valentine's Day which has its delightful moments but usually ruins them! :D

      Aw! That's a really neat memory for you with Casey, Amber. That ending (at the station) gets me every single time! It is beautiful and so heart-wrenching yet leaves you feeling happy that Caroline finally has her husband home.

      This is one worth owning. Thank you for reading!

      Happy (belated) Valentine's Day to you also, friend; hope it was a great day!

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  7. I love this movie - it is such a sweet story! I want to watch it again :) A great movie to recommend and your review was perfect for it <3

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    1. Rachel!!! Hello, so nice to see you over here. :)

      You said it right: This is one sweet story. You've all made me realize I should watch it again also.

      Thanks for reading - it's very much appreciated.

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  8. I'm intrigued by this one! I really like romantic movies/books set during WW2 and it sounds to me like this is a nice blend. :-) Thanks for the review!

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    1. It is, Rosie! You'd likely enjoy it; the romance is probably more prevalent as the historic bits are limited. Nevertheless, it's wonderful. Hope you can get a copy.

      Thank you for reading, girl! :)

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  9. I still love the Hallmark movie (an older one) The Love Letter. SO cute. This movie sounds sweet! Looking forward to watching it! Wow...I have to ask, how on earth do you find time to blog so much Rissi?!

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    1. Aw! That one is good, Micah. It makes me happy that the male character (Campbell Scott) meets someone in the end. Otherwise those happy-ending sensibilities would have been upset. ;) Hope you enjoy this if/when you see 'Lost Valentine.'

      LOL! I joked about this a while ago, Micah commenting to my readers that I wanted them to know I don't sit around watching movies all day! (Because of how many I've posted.) Most of these aside from the new releases, I have saved up in archives since beginning to review about seven years ago. Needless to say in that time, I built up quite an archive. Though I haven't lately, I like to post some non-review posts every now and again and those take more time because I write them up "current." It also really helps to schedule posts. That is one thing I am planning to get back to doing as it makes the challenge of keeping up with blogging less "bothersome." :)

      You always have a great variety and amount of posts up on your blog, Micah - and they are always fabulous. :)

      (BTW: Again, if you ever want to write something for here, feel free to say so. :D)

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  10. This is one of my favorite movies! Your review is spot on. :) Such a wonderful way to showcase a forever kind of love, rather than so many infatuations which it seems like a lot of movies tend toward. NOT that that makes them any less enjoyable, mind you! I still like to watch romantic movies, but I just really thought this story was done exceptionally well. But what else to expect from Hallmark Hall of Fame? :)

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  11. Also, I found you from goodreads (thanks for noticing my review!) and clicked over. Now I'm your newest follower! :)

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    1. Too true, Kara! We can always count on Hallmark for a story that looks deeper than the average Hollywood production. This was a beautiful representation of love. Wonder if the book is any good?

      Yay! So glad to connect with you on Goodreads, Blogger and Tumblr. I am going to look forward to reading your blogs and will enjoy our chats. :) Thanks for the follows and comments!

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  12. OMW. You broke my heart. I cried SO HARD in this movie!!! FANTASTIC.

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    1. My apologies, Micah. Hope it was good kind of tear though.

      Glad you liked it despite that - that ending gets me every time!

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  13. So, I watched this movie...and I don't know if I'll EVER watch it again!! Not because it was bad...but because it was SOO good!! It left me pretty much reeling! I think it ripped my already-too-emotional heart into ribbons...My mom, sisters and I were all pretty much left...devastated at such a great movie!

    Also, whoever those actors were who played the couple in the flash-backs...can I just say INCREDIBLE ACTING?? I honestly think they've become like my FAVORITE movie screen couple, even though "they" weren't the main couple. So sad....I hate that movie. But I loved it, too. Thanks for the recommendation, Rissi! It made for a great girls night movie, complete with kleenex all 'round!

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    1. This IS a tear-jerker, for sure.

      I don't watch it all that often but every now and again mom and I will. I'm not a girl who cries in movies and yet, this one seems to make me tear up every time. It's such a wonderful, powerful example of true love.

      The couple who played the young Caroline and her husband were wonderful - I'd agree. Their scenes together were precious.

      Glad you had a... love/hate relationship with this one...? LOL! Sorry to have recommended it because you, your mom, and sisters had such a rough go - sounds as if it was worth it though... I think. :)

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