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.  

Rate "Don't Go Breaking My Heart"

Here's your chance to share your thoughts on this 2021 Spring Fling movie--what rating would you give it?

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Hallmark's "Chasing Waterfalls" Reunites Cindy Busby & Christopher Russell

Starring:  Cindy Busby & Christopher Russell

Released:  2021

Summary:  A photographer visits an isolated lodge in search of scenic waterfalls and other idyllic natural features to capture alongside her attractive guide.

Image:  Crown Media

Vote For Your Favorite Busby/Russell Hallmark Movie

Fans loved Cindy Busby and Christopher Russell when the two paired up for 2020's Love in the Forecast, and so Hallmark Channel reunited them for a 2021 Spring Fling premiere.  It's the third Hallmark movie featuring Russell as a nature man who thrills female viewers with the rugged way he tames the wilderness and survives the elements--he's the epitome of masculinity.

You may remember Love in the Forecast was about a dairy farmer teaching a meteorologist how to predict the weather via nature rather than high-tech equipment.

Love in the Forecast, Image: Crown Media

Busby and Russell have become friends over the course of filming two movies together, and you can sense their comfort level and camaraderie throughout the movie. Their playful banter feels genuine rather than scripted.

In Chasing Waterfalls, Busby plays Amy Atwater, a would-be photographer who petitions her boss for the chance at an assignment to find and photograph a mystical waterfall.  Reluctantly, her boss gives Amy a chance to prove herself and promises a promotion if she succeeds.

Like many of us women, Amy lacks an internal compass along with the ability to follow a map, so she enlists the aid of a handsome tour guide, Mark North, to escort her through the remote areas leading to each waterfall. 

At first, Mark will only take Amy to the main tourist attractions that have already been photographed.  What Amy really wants to see are Angel Falls and Redwood Falls, though Mark enigmatically refuses to confirm or deny whether Redwood Falls even exists or is merely a legend.

As Amy grows closer to Mark and his daughter, Kyra, he relents and promises to take her to Angel Falls, as long as she promises not to reveal its location.  Even though Amy turns off the geotagging on her camera, her co-worker still finds it embedded in her file and prints the exact latitude and longitude in the subsequent magazine article, causing a giant rift between her and Mark.  Eventually, Kyra convinces her dad that Amy was tricked by her boss, and all is forgiven.

Image:  Crown Media

One thing both Love in the Forecast and Chasing Waterfalls share is a total dud of a kiss in the final scenes.  In their first movie together, Busby's and Russell's kiss is hesitant and careful, and in their most recent, it is very tight-lipped and brief.  If Hallmark produces a third movie with this couple, there better be a kiss that viewers can feel all the way to their toes, like we get with other leading men like Andrew Walker, Tyler Hynes, Ryan Paevey, and Luke MacFarlane.  

Thinking about the two movies starring Busby and Russell, which one do you like better?  Vote below!

image polls

Who Are Busby & Russell Married To In Real Life?

After four years of dating, Cindy Busby tied the knot with Chris Boyd, a producer, in December of 2020, so she's a newlywed!

Busby admitted the wedding was a little smaller due to the pandemic, but it was still "beautiful" and the "perfect day."

Looks like Busby got a Hallmark happy ending!

Christopher Russell and his wife have been together for 17 years, and according to an Instagram post, his heart still "skips a beat" whenever she walks into a room. The happy couple shares two beautiful children together.

Russell's Instagram account expresses the deep love he feels for his family.  He states, "Family.  Where life begins and love never ends.  I love you three bigger than the thing that's bigger than the universe! #soulmates #bestkidsever #youhadmeathello #beautifulbritishcolumbia #familyiseverything."

How many of you have a romantic spouse like that?  Mine would probably post a question like, "What's for dinner tonight?" or something equally charming.

Fun Behind-The-Scenes Look At Chasing Waterfalls

Despite the movie location looking like some remote region of the world, it was shot in British Columbia in Canada, and all the waterfalls were found within an hour and half of Vancouver.  

When filming the final waterfalls, called Redwood Falls in the movie, the cast and crew weren't allowed to post any pictures of the location to keep its whereabouts hidden--a fun fact that parallels the storyline of the film.  Most of the movie was shot outdoors, with many of the locations being a 20 minute hike for all involved in its making.

Cindy Busby had a stunt double, of course, but she still had to scale rocks and mountains, and sit on cliffs, which was a real challenge for her, since she has a fear of heights.

Image:  Crown Media

Busby said this about it to AfterbuzzTV, "I heard a quote recently where your imagination is always worse than reality, and it's so true.  We always overthink things and then when we actually do them, the exhilaration of having accomplished something that we didn't feel comfortable doing is always so much worth it than living in that fear and not doing it."

The lodge where Busby's character stays is actually a non-profit for kids with cancer called Camp Good Times, but it was unoccupied at the time of filming due to the pandemic.

Like Amy Atwater, Busby and the rest of the crew did not have cell phone service in this remote area during their week and a half stay, but Busby told TV Goodness, "So that was kind of fun too.  Nobody was on their phones and we were just together.  It was kind of nice to just really connect."

That should serve as a lesson to all of us!  With all the gunk happening in the world that divides us, unplugging is a great way to close an escape route that is very isolating anyway to force us to notice and connect with the people around us.

The most unforgettable movie scene for Busby is the part where she and Russell are in the water.  If you remember, the scene is short and sweet, and there's a reason for it.  The water was about 40 degrees, so they couldn't stay in it for more than 10 minutes at a time.  Busby tells viewers that when they watch that scene, it might look good, "but just know it didn't feel good!"

What's Your Favorite Part Of The Movie?

Despite the gorgeous scenery that takes center stage in Chasing Waterfalls, one of my favorite things about this movie is how for Amy, photography isn't just about snapping pictures and having them look good.  She searches for the personality of each waterfall and does her assignment with her heart and soul, not just robotically to check it off her to-do list for work.

Wouldn't we all do our jobs better if we approached our work the same way?

What's your favorite part of the movie?  Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section!

Image:  Crown Media

You've Seen Cassidy Nugent Before

Cassidy Nugent plays Kyra North, Mark's daughter with his ex-wife.  Like the typical tweener, Kyra likes a boy but doesn't feel pretty enough for it to be reciprocated, so in motherly fashion, Amy offers her advice and support.

Kyra often pokes fun of her father for all of his bad dad jokes.

If Nugent looks familiar, it's because she's no stranger to Hallmark.  She's played in Love Struck Cafe, When Calls the Heart:  The Greatest Christmas Blessing, and The Angel Tree.  

Image:  Crown Media

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Hallmark's "Fit for a Prince" an Adorable Cinderella Story, Minus the Odd Ending

Starring:  Natalie Hall and Jonathan Keltz

Released:  2021

Summary:  An aspiring fashion designer is the talent behind a high-profile designer, but she longs to have her own business.  Hired to dress ladies of a wealthy family hosting an upcoming charity ball, Cindy's life takes an unexpected turn when Prince Ronan becomes smitten with her and takes note of her talent for design. 

Image:  Crown Media 

A Modern Cinderella Story

Fit for a Prince was written by T. Booker James, who did an excellent job in putting a fun spin on an old fairytale.

In place of Cinderella, we have Cindy Cordella--notice the similarity in names.  Cindy is the creative seamstress genius behind all the dresses in the Rebecca Raslyn line, but since Raslyn takes all the credit initially, that casts her into the part of the wicked step-mother.  Cindy relies on a team of people to help her sew, however, and not an eclectic group of mice and birds.  

Ronan is our Prince Charming, and Julia and Brooke are like the wicked step-sisters.  These conniving plotters don't tear Cindy's dress apart, like in the original, but they do manage to make her unpresentable by telling her to dress casually.

Imagine the embarrassment of arriving at such an elegant gala in a T-shirt and jeans!  Ronan comes to her rescue by changing into a T-shirt, too, and it's a modern act of pure chivalry.  Later, Ronan confronts Raslyn on Cindy's behest and informs the Hamilton's and their guests that Cindy is the talent behind the designer brand.  Surprisingly, Cindy isn't fired, but Raslyn promotes her to partner.  This was a creative way for a prince to come to the rescue of a damsel in distress while still supporting her independence.

Cindy is such a loving, accommodating, and kind soul, mirroring the exact character of her storybook counterpart.  She continues to defend and see the best in Rebecca Raslyn, no matter how many times her boss takes advantage of her and keeps stringing her along about advancing her career.

If it weren't for the invitation and insistence of Virginia Hamilton, Cindy would have never been able to  attend the ball, so that makes Virginia our fairy godmother, minus the bibbity, bobbity, boo!

Regardless of Cindy being a commoner and Ronan headed for the throne, they both find their happily ever after, even without a glass slipper.

Natalie Hall and Jonathan Keltz Shine

The last Hallmark movies featuring Hall and Keltz were not fan favorites, namely You're Bacon Me Crazy and Falling for Look Lodge, respectively.  In the first, Hall's acting was phony and unnatural, and in the second, Keltz proved that nerdy could never be the new sexy. 

Yet, in Fit for a Prince, both actors struck a rhythm, hit a stride, and fell into an easy groove with one another.  Hallmark must have realized that by adding an English accent to Keltz's character would make him irresistible--we romantics are suckers for accents.  You probably remember Keltz from his royal role in Once Upon a Prince in 2018.  

Ronan points out that Julia and Brooke see Cindy as a threat because she is "real" and they are not.  Cindy's authenticity is one of the things that wins his heart.  "Be yourself" is an old adage that continues to stand the test of time when it comes to relationships.

A Monkey Wrench Into An Otherwise Perfect Ending

Ronan doesn't whisk Cindy off into a carriage or even away on a white horse, but they do have the undivided attention of the guests as they dance together at the ball.  Cindy proves that despite being a commoner, she has grace, elegance, beauty, class, and poise.

Throughout the movie, Cindy inspires Ronan to be spontaneous, and even with everyone watching, he defies protocol and kisses her.  The movie could have ended right there.  But it didn't.  Ronan dares Cindy to be spontaneous, and apparently all she could come up with was to bust an awkward move on the dance floor that ended as quickly as it began as the waltz strikes back up again.  

Viewers are like, "what the heck?"  That scene could have been clipped and left on the editing floor.  It simply didn't fit.

Otherwise, this movie was a refreshing twist to a traditional tale.

The End.


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