Loving Leah (2009) - Unconventional Love Story

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

One of the newer romances in the Hallmark Hall of Fame series, Loving Leah is a bit unusual, but it’s so completely enchanting, I wouldn’t think anyone would care...

Loving Leah

Although he’s a successful doctor on the fast track to becoming one of the most recognized doctors in his network, Jake Lever (Adam Kaufman) has never quite forgiven the brother who left their family behind in order to pursue a conviction - to become a Rabbi in the Jewish faith. After a strange dream in which his brother Benjamin appears to him, Jake receives a phone call from his mother (Mercedes Ruehl) that Ben recently passed away.

Attending his brother’s funeral, Jakes meets his brother's widow, Leah (Lauren Ambrose). Even in the constraints her faith places on her, Leah stands out as being different and Jake notices that. Before Jake can leave he learns of an ancient tradition involving your widowed sister-in-law; if your brothers wife was left childless then his brother must marry her to carry on the family name. Both Leah and Jake agree they would rather go through the ceremony to “dissolve” the tradition, but when it comes time to renounce his brothers’ name, Jake cannot go through with it so he proposes a marriage of convenience.

Settling into their new lives as “roommates,” Jake and Leah attempt to make completely separate lives work, but find that arrangement impossible. Just when everything begins to break down, Complications arise when Jake’s long-time girlfriend protests, and Leah’s feelings for her husband surface.

Many of you have perhaps already discovered that I heartily enjoy the majority of the scripts Hallmark develops. As a result, I will try not to bore you in gushing about how wonderful they generally are. Instead I will simply focus on this production and its qualities. For the most part, this movie is an adorable little romance, but a decent chunk of time also revolves around the Jewish faith. I myself, do not know much about this culture, but have no reason to believe that it is painted in a harsh or unrealistic way. Leah’s family takes their faith seriously whereas Leah herself is a little more rebellious than the rest of them, but she genuinely believes in God.

As the film progresses we gradually see her become moderately more attune with the world in both her dress and look. Small things demonstrate this such as one scene that shows Leah and Jake swimming together (it isn’t allowed in her religion) or the way she changes her hairstyle. I didn’t realize some of the customs the faith required and was surprised at some of the comparisons that can be made to other cultures. Jake doesn’t profess to have any type of religion, but he doesn’t make fun of Leah’s either, which is nice for the burgeoning relationship between the two.  

In production terms, this is very well done. This carries over into the scenes between Leah and Jake which are emotion fueled as is appropriate for the story. Often to show time passing, they were shot in montages. Depending on how that is done, it can sometimes rub me the wrong way, but here it isn’t distracting, instead it builds on the story. As usual there really is not anything “wrong” with this movie.

Loving Leah is a delightful if not somewhat quirky love story. The questions Jake has regarding his marriage to Leah are legitimate and I can certainly understand where they stem from. The acting was superb from everyone, although I don’t know that I loved the two leads. I don’t know if it was just pairing them together or it they weren’t right for the parts individually, but at the risk of contradicting myself, they did manage to play off each other well. The characters were well-written; Jake was the epitome of an understanding guy who never made Leah feel uncomfortable intentionally and was so sweet whenever dealing with her personal morals or sense of unease, and I loved their budding relationship. This is just a sweet little romance and one that has ended up on my shelf.

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.) You can purchase Loving Leah on DVD or you can rent on Amazon Video (with  Hallmark subscription).
(PG-rated cautions: Jake plans to take his girlfriend to Jamaica while married and they share some kisses. Another couple kiss and are later shown lying in bed together. There are a few innuendos and Leah’s mother finds Jake’s “jokes” uncalled for in her faith.)


  1. Oh I adore this one too! An instant fav for me really :)

  2. Never seen it. Boy, I feel so behind the times! Well, I'm not really, but I just feel that way!
    It does sound like a good movie, but the PG-rated part would probably not go well because my parents don't let us watch PG-rated films. They will let us when we get older :)
    Great review though!

  3. I've never heard of this, but now I want to see it! :)

  4. I loved this movie but then again I don't think there's a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie that I didn't enjoy. They are always so sweet and I'm a real sucker for marriage of convenience type stories.

    XOXO~ Renee

  5. Juju - as you probably read, I completely agree with your sentiments! Such a sweet movie.

    Thank YOU so much for visiting my little blog! I always, always enjoy reader input! =) Feel free to stop in again.

    Rebekah - this is good movie. =) It is one of the sweeter romances I've seen, and since I am a sucker for romance movies, I've seen dozens of them. =)

    I can really relate to your family's strict movie-watching-policies. My family was much the same (I didn't see anything as a child without my parents previewing it), but we always watched things together which made a HUGE difference; I wasn't watching the latest movies with my peers, but with my parents. Now, even as a young adult, I still see a lot of films with my parents, because its become a sort-of tradition and I enjoy spending time with them. Glad you enjoyed the review; your kind comments are always appreciated. =)

    Trinka - you should really see it; "Loving Leah" is just... well, really sweet! Check it out, and then let us all know what you thought of it.

    Renee - I know, right!? Hallmark rocks! I often laugh at myself for watching as many as I can get my hands on because a lot of them are sappy, but always are they cute. =)

  6. Rissi, I loved reading your thoughts!! You and I share a lot of the same ones regarding this film. It was darling!!

  7. This movie is too cute! I really need to pull out my DVD copy and give it a rewatch soon. :)

  8. Ella - thank you! Movies that I like makes it so much easier to write about. Totally agree with you; the movie is darling!

    Ruth - I know, right!? It is. Like you, I meant to re-watch this before posting my review, and haven't gotten around to it! Oh, well! Maybe in the next couple of weeks it'll happen. =)

  9. I do enjoy a Hallmark movie but for some reason I missed this one when it first aired. I need to check it out.

  10. Jen - this is SUCH a cute Hallmark production! I hope you manage to get a hold of a copy because it's well worth the two hours.

    Thank you SO much for dropping in, and your input - I love it when my readers share THEIR thoughts. Please visit again. =)

  11. I found this on youtube I think the same day I read this, and I watched it. I absolutely LOVED it!!!! It was so sweet! :) Of course one reason I loved it could have something to do with the fact that my favorite love stories are when the couple gets married first, THEN falls in love....yeah, I'm a little strange :)I loved all the Jewish traditions that were shown. :) And, well, I just basically loved the whole movie! :)

  12. Cool, cool, Trinka! That is awesome! I am so glad you enjoyed this one. Each time I watch it, I am more charmed by its beautiful story-telling.

    I "get" what you mean about romances that see the couple married first then falling in love. That is a sweet concept - or maybe it just seems so because it's different than the norm. =D

    Super glad you liked this, girl - and even more glad you dropped by to let me know. =)

  13. Really liked this movie. I saw it a few days ago for the first time when it re-aired on Hallmark. I thought it was really cute and very well acted. Lauren Ambrose is one of my favorites and she really brought this character to life. Lovely romantic story. Sometimes you're just in the mood for this kind of movie. :)

    1. So do I, Lady J! It's one of those "genuine" romance stories that is more timeless than unforgettable. And yes, the acting is good to boot! This was the only thing I'd ever seen Lauren in however she played her character very well. :)

      Thanks so much for stopping by - and the comment. Visit anytime.


Have a thought? Don't be shy, go ahead and leave one... or two... or three! I reply to every comment. If you're new to the blog, please don't hesitate to introduce yourself and your blog - we love chatting around here!

Feedback and every comment is appreciated and read - I always leave a response; your opinions are respected and I ask that you show mine the same courtesy.

(If you post under “anonymous,” please leave a name. If you don't have a Google account, you can type your name into the Name/URL and if you have no site, just leave "URL" blank.)

If you are still reading my ramblings, thank you for following this little blog and for being one of its supporters. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of you, friends!

Latest Instagrams

© Finding Wonderland. Design by FCD.