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Butterfly Farming Is More Interesting Than the Romance in Hallmark's "Feeling Butterflies"

Feeling Butterflies Plot Summary

Emily's booming butterfly business delivers monarchs to a birthday party where she meets single dad, Garrett.  With the help of Garrett and his daughter, Emily's business begins to take flight.

Starring:  Kayla Wallace and Kevin McGarry

"Feeling Butterflies" with Kayla Wallace and Kevin McGarry
Feeling Butterflies leaves fans feeling disappointed.

A Sweet but Dull Movie

When Hallmark movie fans learned Feeling Butterflies paired a real-life couple for the movie, they expected the chemistry to be off the charts and the romance to feel more authentic.  It didn't work that way.

Kayla Wallace and Kevin McGarry are completely ordinary.  No extra spark of passion.  Very little romantic tension.  An average kiss at the end.  Meh.

It's the typical story of a widower trying to do the best he can raising his daughter on his own.  He's torn between moving to New York where Amanda has been accepted into a prestigious school and can be close to his ex-girlfriend or staying right where he is and starting something new with Emily.

Like many Hallmark movies these days, we can't get through one without the taint of identity politics.  While there is certainly nothing wrong with biracial relationships, the fact that Hallmark has to include one in nearly every movie is plain stupid, especially considering the majority of the viewing demographic isn't in one.  Just look at Garrett and Jill--they couldn't be less compatible.  It's as if Hallmark puts no thought into these pairings--as long as the two are different colors, smash them together and call it good.

At least the title is fun.  I'm a sucker for double entendre.  Feeling butterflies is a sign of love, but in the movie, it's also a hands-on experience.  Charmingly, Emily's last name is Mariposa, which means butterfly in Spanish--nice touch!

Feeling Butterflies
If someone thought it would be fun to throw mud at me, it would be the end of our relationship.

Butterfly Farming Is a Real Thing

You may not have known that butterfly farming is a real thing, so this movie is one of the rare ones with an educational angle.

Many people who engage in butterfly farming do so out of a love for conservation and concern over the dwindling monarch population.  Though statistics vary, a general consensus indicates the numbers have dwindled since the 1980's by nearly 90 percent, mostly due to herbicides.  Not only do farmers use herbicides to control the gypsy moths from destroying crops, but weed killers have also destroyed the milkweed habitats monarchs need, especially along their migratory path to Mexico. 

Releasing these pollinators at weddings and other events is a beautiful alternative to doves, but raising them takes tremendous work and risk.  

Like Emily, butterfly farmers often rely on additional revenue streams to make it, such as booking educational presentations, selling butterfly raising kits, and having a website where people can purchase butterfly merchandise.

Raising caterpillars, growing plants for feeding them, and having a space to house them that is temperature and humidity controlled isn't all that butterfly farming requires.  Many supplies are needed, too, like proper raising containers, cages, shelving, disinfectant, a microscope, and so much more.  The farmer must build a website, handle all the office and managerial tasks, get a permit, learn how to ship the butterflies, and do a TON of marketing to bring in cash.  The time investment is critical.  Since raising healthy butterflies is very delicate, the grower has little time off work, and the growing season lasts from early spring through fall.  

Even when the farmer does everything right, invasive parasites can destroy all the hard work--a costly problem!

Another fun fact we learned from the movie is how to tell the difference between male and female monarchs.  The male has two black spots on his back wings, but the female does not.  

male and female monarch
The left monarch is female and the one on the right is male--you can tell by the two black spots located on the rear wings.

These Characters Liven Up the Movie

Three characters in Feeling Butterflies help keep the viewer from drifting off to sleep:  

  • Larry Mariposa is Emily's dad who lacks an internal monologue.  When he meets Garrett for the first time, he asks questions and reveals more about Emily than she would like.  He's the typical father just looking out for his little girl while managing to embarrass her in the process.
  • Mandy Fisher is Emily's chief competitor and nemesis.  Mandy is outlandish, colorful, and more interested in lording her triumphs over Emily than she is in butterflies.  Despite their differences, they learn the importance of teamwork in achieving their goals.
Feeling Butterflies
  The stressed face you make when you need 1501 butterflies within three weeks.  Image:  Crown Media
  • Rebecca O'Keefe is the socialite heiress to a publishing empire, so she's the stereotypical elitist who is narcissistic, demanding, and unduly interested in outdoing her peer group.
These three characters are as colorful as butterflies!

Even if Feeling Butterflies leaves you feeling bored instead, it's still worth watching once.  I'm rating this movie 2 out of 4 butterflies.  🦋🦋/4

My Favorite Movie Quote

Have you ever noticed when people don't want to commit to something, they have a list of excuses that make their decision-making less straightforward and more highly complex?  

Emily's dad cuts through the smoke and mirrors with one of his favorite lines:

Things are complicated until they're not.

We sometimes let life become more complicated than it needs to be.  If we are decisive and let our yes be yes and our no be no, then life is simplified.

Feeling Butterflies
Maybe we can't all build butterfly houses, but we can incorporate plants in our gardens to attract these beautiful pollinators.  Image:  Crown Media

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