Can You Answer All These Trivia Questions On Hallmark's "Sand Dollar Cove?"

Starring:  Aly Michalka and Chad Michael Murray

Released:  2021

Summary:  A Stamford developer attempts to acquire a property in a Connecticut beach town, but she ends up liking the town's unique charm and falls for the property owner.

Hallmark's "Sand Dollar Cove" features Chad Michael Murray and Aly Michalka and is an adaptation of Nancy Naigle's novel.
What do you think of Aly Michalka and Chad Michael Murray as a couple? Image: Crown Media

Sand Dollar Cover Is Based On A Book By Nancy Naigle

Nancy Naigle has become a Hallmark staple, with many of her heart-warming books finding their way into the Hallmark movie line-up.

If you've watched Christmas in Evergreen, Christmas Joy, Hope at Christmas, or The Secret Ingredient, you know Naigle's prowess in delivering romance stories Hallmark fans love.

Sand Dollar Cove is her latest novel picked by Hallmark for production.  What do you think of the movie?  Share your review in the comment section! 

Sand Dollar Cove Is A Great Summer Romance

Who doesn't love the beach?  

Tourism is the primary industry for Sand Dollar Cove, but the town is struggling to recover from a devastating storm. It might seem like paradise to live along the coast--at least until a hurricane surges inland.

The story is also about shifting gears from working jobs that are practical to pursuing a career you love.  Elli works for a real estate developer, but her dream is to be an architect.  Brody's bait-and-tackle shop seems like the ideal occupation for a beach town resident, but he's really a lawyer living in the shadow of his grandfather.  He's afraid he won't live up to the legend if he tries to practice law.  However, he relaunches his "Pay-It-Forward Foundation" during the annual Summer Jamboree and reignites his grandfather's legacy in helping others in the community.

How many of us work jobs to pay the bills but are not doing what we love the most? 

Sand Dollar Cove is an enjoyable movie in Hallmark's Summer Nights line-up.  The only criticism shared widely among fans is Aly Michalka's stoic, often unsmiling demeanor, but hey--at least she wears boldly colored clothes combinations to brighten up her character!

The Best & The Worst Of Hallmark's "Her Pen Pal"

Starring:  Mallory Jansen and Joshua Sasse

Released:  2021

Summary:  An event planner is put in charge of planning her best friend's Paris wedding, and she decides to reconnect with a childhood pen pal.

Have you ever visited Paris? Image: Crown Media

Her Pen Pal Is A Fun Movie

All-in-all, Her Pen Pal was an entertaining addition to the 2021 Summer Nights line-up.  Most fans loved it, with only a small number of dissenters saying it didn't keep their interest.  That's okay!  We're all allowed to have an opinion, and it's so lovely when we can disagree on these things amicably!

The movie scored big on some aspects and tanked on others.  Let's take a look at both.

The Best Parts Of Her Pen Pal

  • The movie setting is Paris--one of the world's most romantic cities!  Hallmark has filmed other movies in Paris too, like Paris, Wine, and Romance with Jen Lilley, but we could use more.  Hallmark gives us an inside peek at many famous landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, and that is a real treat for those of us who may never travel overseas to see them in person. 
  • Jacques is exactly how you might picture a French man:  suave, self-confident, forthright, and dripping with romantic words and gestures.  Added bonus--who doesn't LOVE a French accent?
Is Joshua Sasse hot?  Oui oui! Image: Crown Media

  • The whole pen pal angle is fresh, not overused like so many Hallmark plots.  Since Victoria and Jacques corresponded for so many years, they really know each other in all the ways that matter, making a whirlwind romance more believable.
  • The ending parallels life a little more honestly.  While the viewer assumes Jacques will proceed with transforming his chateau into an event venue and Victoria will join him because she's gotten bored with wedding planning, nothing is finalized.  Victoria has a successfully established business to consider, and all of her family and friends live in the States.  Neither of them declare their love, as Hallmark couples typically do after spending ten seconds together.  Not having all the details hammered out for a fairytale ending is more realistic.

The Worst Parts Of Her Pen Pal  

  • Mallory Jansen is pretty and fits the part of a Hallmark leading lady, but she over-acts.
  • Victoria admits she doesn't cook and eats fast food almost every night.  Herein lies the movie's true fairytale--no one can eat from a drive-thru bag daily and stay that skinny.
In real life, that croissant would go straight to her thighs.  Image: Crown Media

  • Joshua Sasse is British--not French!  I want him to be French.  I knew I shouldn't have Googled his name and learned the truth!
  • Have you ever witnessed a husband fussing over his pregnant wife the way Seth does with Nathalie?  That was more than a tad ridiculous.
  • It seems like 75% of Hallmark movies cast their leading actors as writers or event planners.  There are literally hundreds of possible occupations these characters could have.  Not every movie needs to have a portable career.  
  • Hallmark has gone full-blown "woke" when it comes to their insistence on pairing couples in supporting roles from different races, and it's so blaringly obvious that it overshadows their stories. Don't hear what I'm not saying--I am not against diversity.  There is nothing wrong with interracial relationships.  What I'm saying is it's okay for Hallmark couples to be of the same race, whether they are Asian, black, white, Indian, Latino, etc.  Only 10.2 percent of America's population is in an interracial or interethnic marriage.  Judging from Hallmark's casting, you'd think that statistic is closer to 90%.  Hallmark's fan base is getting turned off by this woke garbage.  In Her Pen Pal, there are two couples in interracial relationships, and since this is happening in nearly every new movie, it comes across as forced and unnatural and too political rather than genuine.

Would You Watch It Again?

Fans often judge a Hallmark movie this way:  They either say, "I would watch it again," or "I'm erasing it from the DVR."

As long as the majority will vow to watch it again, the movie will survive.  

Would you watch Her Pen Pal again?

Most of us would.  It's not every day we get to visit Paris on the arm of a handsome Frenchman (who is really British). 

Dear Jacques--will you be my pen pal too? Image: Crown Media

Want To Take A Quiz On The Movie?

Want to take a fun 8-question quiz on this movie?  I usually include them in these blog posts, but I created one exclusively for our Facebook group:  Hallmark Movies-Seasons of Love.  If you're not already part of our Facebook community, we would love you to join us!  Click on the group link to join, and the quiz will be pinned under the "announcements" tab through the end of August 2021.