Hallmark's "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"-Rate the Movie & See What Fans Are Saying

Starring:  Italia Ricci and Ryan Paevey

Released:  2021

Summary:  Miranda runs a boot camp for the recently broken hearted.  She begins to form a connection with a new client, Ben, who is also a reporter, investigating whether her boot camp is a fad or a phenomenon.  

Italia Ricci & Ryan Paevey star in the 2021 Hallmark Spring Fling premiere of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart."  Image:  Crown Media

The Self-Help Industry Is Booming

Miranda Faraday (Ricci) is a psychologist who survived a failed marriage and uses what she's learned to help others heal from painful break-ups.  Her break-up boot camp is wildly successful and keeps growing.  

Ben Myers (Paevey) is a journalist who's had his fair share of relational challenges, but he consents to join the boot camp for his sister's sake, since she's still gutted from her most recent break-up.  Ben is very skeptical about the process and tries to quit the class, but his boss urges him to rejoin, sensing there could be a news story behind the program.  Is the break-up boot camp a legitimate form of therapy that really helps people, or is it just a gimmick to swindle people out of money when they are most vulnerable?

Would dating a psychologist make you feel like you're always being psychoanalyzed?  Image:  Crown Media

FUN FACT:  According to Market Research, the self-improvement industry was worth $9.9 billion in 2016, and is projected to grow to $13.2 billion by 2022.   

Faith is really all these hurting people need to find hope, peace, and joy in the middle of life's storms.  Instead, many ignore the One who can help them the most, opting to seek advice and counsel from life coaches, motivational speakers, and holistic training companies.

As Ben and Miranda grow closer, she shares that she hasn't always practiced what she preaches when it comes to dealing with her own divorce.  Could this be an issue Ben could exploit in a journalistic hit piece?

What Real Experts Say About Dealing With Heartbreak

Miranda's camp lasts six weeks and is broken down as follows:

  • Week 1:  Release--everyone hits a punching bag.
  • Week 2:  Endurance--the class exercises and completes an obstacle course to gain confidence.
  • Week 3:  Team Work--the class works together solving clues in an escape room.
  • Week 4:  Connection--the class takes salsa dance lessons to get in touch with their vulnerabilities.
  • Week 5:  Trust--each class member shares the story of their heartbreak and then falls backwards for the rest of the class to catch them.
  • Week 6:  Closure--each person writes a letter to their ex and decides whether to send it or burn it.
Thinking of one of the exes from your past who hurt you, would you send or burn your letter?  Share in the comment section! Image:  Crown Media.  

How do these techniques compare to advice from real psychologists?

Suzanne Lachmann, Psy.D. shares with Psychology Today that anyone with a broken heart needs to understand why the relationship ended, know that it's okay to be alone, feelings (not time) dictate where you are in the grieving process, be gentle with yourself as you heal and take responsibility for that healing, and avoid destructive habits.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense can come to those conclusions without a doctorate! 

Anyone want to volunteer to salsa with Ryan Paevey?  Image:  Crown Media

The Cleveland Clinic takes a different approach by suggesting these six  strategies for dealing with grief:

  • Share your feelings with supportive friends and family.
  • Take care of yourself by eating right, getting enough sleep, and being physically active.
  • Create a daily routine to add structure to your life.
  • Avoid substance abuse.
  • Leave your ex alone and do not stalk them online.
  • Don't rush into a new relationship. 

Would you take Miranda's class to recover from a break-up?   

When nursing a broken heart, the only strategy Miranda offers that seems viable is to write a letter to your ex and then decide to burn it or send it.  There is something therapeutic about writing down what your heart is saying--it helps you "let it all out." 

Salsa dancing?  Falling backwards?  An escape room? All of these are social engagements that really do nothing to alter a person's state of mind after a break-up, but they do make for a fun Hallmark story.

Ryan Paevey fans would only be too happy to keep this hunk from falling.  Image:  Crown Media

The "Betrayal"

When Miranda finds out Ben has been gathering intel on her business for a news story, she feels totally betrayed, which is a typical source of conflict in many romances.

In all the time they spent together, Ben never had an opportunity to say, "Hey, by the way, my boss wants me to write a story about your break-up boot camp, but don't worry!  I'm giving you a rave review."  In real life, this would have probably come up.

As we expect, Ben writes a sweet and endearing piece that brings Miranda hordes of new customers and assures her that her trust in him has not been misplaced.  

Hallmark Fans Not Impressed With Ricci

While a fair number of Hallmark fans loved Don't Go Breaking My Heart, especially devout Ryan Paevey fans, many expressed their disappointment.  Here are some comments from fans on social media:

  • Went to sleep half way through it.  No chemistry.  I don't think she is a good actress.
  • It was truly a snoozer.  She's not a favorite of mine.
  • I started watching it and couldn't get into it.  I turned if off after 20 minutes.
  • Kind of monotone and flat.
  • Couldn't feel the romance.
  • Italia Ricci is the most boring actress in the Hallmark Universe.
Compared to her emotionally bland and flatline performance in Love in Winterland, Ricci seemed hyped on caffeine in Don't Go Breaking My Heart, which means at least a pulse was detected this time.

The therapist/client relationship is breached, but that's okay. Image:  Crown Media

You might argue that being a psychologist in her latest role means Ricci has to act a little more detached to keep the line drawn between a professional and her clients, but based on her past movie performances, it's fair to say she simply lacks charisma.  

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