Autumn Dreams (2015) – Small Town and Big City Reunite in Sweet Romance

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Sometimes there are films (big or small screen) that really draw me in, but for varying circumstances, I cannot see them. This is one of those films. Back when it premiered, Autumn Dreams was one of the telefilms I was counting on settling in to watch. (Especially because of its leading man.) Sadly, I never did have a chance to do so, which is why when I spied the DVD on Amazon, I wasted zero time in preordering it.

At eighteen years old, Annie and Ben are madly in love. So much so, the teens make plans to elope and leave behind their small-town Iowa roots for the bright lights of New York City. The only thing giving Annie pause is hurting her parents. But with Ben at her side, she’s prepared to look to the future, and she does. All their plans shatter when, just after they vow to “love, honor and cherish,” Annie’s father breaks apart the newlyweds citing their age as being too young to marry.

15 years later, Annie (Jill Wagner) is working hard on her family farm and trying to earn a grant for a project she’s working on. She’s also being pressured by her fiancé of two years to set a wedding date. Just when she does, she receives divorce papers from Ben (Colin Egglesfield). It would seem their marriage was never formally annulled, an unexpected complication that brings Annie to New York…

Though a wait was attached to my seeing Autumn Dreams, the wait was worth it. If the plot sounds familiar, then you’re probably a fan of the 2002 Reese Witherspoon-led romantic-comedy, Sweet Home Alabama. With many similarities to that “classic,” this sweet teleplay still manages to stand on its own two feet with lovely results.

For starters, the characters are 110% endearing. I adored their easy-to-relate-to nature and the contrast between their respective worlds. Annie is the epitome of the girl-next-door definition. She’s sweet, caring and kind in all the right ways. Her world is one I can relate to not in every sphere, but certainly the small town vibes. Contrast this with Ben’s city life and wealth, and you have two different characters and worlds that still (for storytelling purposes) blend effortlessly. Furthermore, I appreciate that Ben doesn’t follow the stereotypes. He may be successful by the world’s standard, but none of it has affected how he lives his day-to-day.

Speaking to more specificity about this, it’s this that’s one of the reasons I adore this script. I’m a firm believer that the city doesn’t have to be “evil” to a character or a story. It can be magical, and have an eclectic vibe or feel that the quaint small town never can. While I understand why so many stories do the whole “small town return,” I respect a story that can depict a person living in the big city without a chip on their shoulder. Autumn Dreams accomplishes this with flying colors.

One of the reasons I was drawn to this one was the leading man. Having seen Colin in a romcom (with Kate Hudson), a Nora Roberts TV drama, and also recurring on one of my favorite TV shows (Rizzoli & Isles), I was excited to see him show up in something new. He and Jill (Christmas Cookies) are fabulous together, most especially during the New York sequence, which gives them some great time to rediscover what they love about the other.

If you enjoy sweet, wholesome and funny romances, be sure to add this Hallmark gem to your lists. It’s the perfect Saturday night flick to say “in” with, perhaps with a bowl of popcorn while curled up in your favorite cozy chair. ♥

(This post does contain affiliate links; read the disclosure page for details.) You can own Autumn Dreams on Amazon Video (digitally) or purchase a copy on DVD.

Photos: Hallmark Channel /Crown Media Press


  1. You are so right about this one. It's a really sweet story.

    1. Isn't it?? One of my favorites! :)


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