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Take the Movie Quiz on Hallmark's "Country at Heart," Listen to the Song They Perform, & Hear What Fans Are Saying

Starring:  Jessy Schram, Niall Matter, and Lucas Bryant

Released:  2019

Summary:  A struggling country singer stumbles across a Nashville songwriter in need of some inspiration, so they decide to work together to write a song.

Image:  Crown Media

Needing a Hit is a Metaphor for Hallmark

Hallmark set the bar high by providing its audience with hit movie after hit movie for many years--until recently.  The year 2020 started strong with Winterfest and Love Ever After, but by Spring Fling, Romance in the Air, and the beginning of Fall Harvest, many of the premieres left viewers disappointed.  

Some might blame the downturn on COVID-19, but the timing also coincides with the departure of Bill Abbott as CEO of Crown Media, who left early 2020 after serving 11 years.  Once Abbott left, Hallmark hurt its brand by becoming too politically correct. 

Grady Connor's (Matter) career depends on him writing a hit song, as much as Duke Sterling's career hinges on a hot, new release.  Their dilemma could be a metaphor for Hallmark--Crown Media needs some hit movies before their base crumbles and ratings topple.

Looks like Hallmark finally scored with Country at Heart, but it bears noticing this movie had a delayed release and was filmed in August 2019 when Abbot was still at the helm. 

As Fall Harvest wraps up and the Christmas movie season commences, we'll see if Hallmark manages to right the ship, or if the ship sinks.  Let's hope they stay afloat so we can all enjoy the cruise.

Here's What Fans Are Saying About Country at Heart

Unlike the barrage of negative fan comments following Follow Me to Daisy Hills and Falling for Look Lodge, fans had a lot of good things to say about Country at Heart.

  • Loved this movie.  All three actors are great on their own.  I will definitely watch again.

  • Best new movie so far.  I loved it!

  • The love triangle wasn't as annoying as it sometimes is in movies.

  • Love Niall in anything!

  • Love that they are playing their own instruments and are singing.
Image:  Crown Media

Although the majority of viewers said they loved, or at least liked, Country at Heart, not everyone was impressed.  Could it be that after the last few bombs, fans set the bar so much lower that anything decent could surpass sagging expectations?

Here are a few unique observations from fans that have merit:

  • Niall is a misfit doing a cowboy/country music star role.  Is Lucas Bryant in his 50's?  Looks like Jessy and Niall's father.  

  • The writers made the male characters too weak.  A little self-conscious makes sense, but these two had very low self-esteem.  

  • The singing wasn't great.

Personally, I, too, laughed when Lucas Bryant kept tossing back the hair that frequently tumbled into his face.  This "boy band" behavior on an "old timer" wasn't attractive.

I would also add the storyline was a little stale, considering we've seen variations of it in past movies. In A Christmas Love Story, a youth choir director had to create an original song for their annual Christmas Eve show; Our Christmas Love Song was about a country music star accused of plagiarizing her mentor's hit; Jesse Metcalfe played a music star struggling to write new songs until he went home and found inspiration in A Country Wedding.   

Hallmark writers need to think outside the box a little more and hire writers with fresh ideas.

Great Original Music in Country at Heart

Hallmark boasts a multi-talented ensemble of stars who are just good at acting--many have musical talents as well.  

Country at Heart includes enjoyable hits that even non-country music fans can appreciate.  Here's the song, Right in Front of You, that Grady and Shayna "write" together.

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