It’s a strange sensation to sit down to watch a Hallmark Movie and realize that I am so opposed to one of the performers’ personal choices in life that I can’t see anything else. I am well aware that I am meant to be neutral, but this isn’t the New York Times.
Raise a Glass to Love is the newest release in Hallmark’s Fall Harvest collection. The cast is led by Juan Pablo Di Pace and Laura Osnes. “Aspiring Master Sommelier Jenna goes to her family winery to study and is captivated by the natural techniques of the new winemaker, Marcelo,” and continues.
Laura Osnes has made headlines because she refuses to be vaccinated, despite being a two-time Tony winner. She quit her work because she refused to comply with vaccination demands. Her apparent carelessness and disrespect for others make me dislike her in every way. It doesn’t matter to me that she’s a Hallmark Channel regular; she shouldn’t be. She should show consideration for others and recognize that we are amid a pandemic in which people are dying.
Raise A Glass To Love follows the traditional Hallmark format, but its shot elevates it significantly. It’s stunning. Then I’m not sure whether it’s just because it’s set in Napa Valley, which is a stunning location. It would be tough to make the place look bad, but stranger things have happened.
What starts as making you feel emotionally attached to the characters since a flashback of Jenna spending time with her Grandma as a child rapidly evolves into a movie where you don’t have any emotional ties. You want to since it is part of what distinguishes a Hallmark movie.
Raise A Glass To Love makes every effort to elicit emotion, yet it falls short.
First and foremost, Jenna and her boyfriend have no chemistry. He’s frigid and distant, and they don’t move in unison. They’re in a business relationship, and it’s awkward to watch them together. You’re left wondering why she’d ever think a man who doesn’t believe in her is someone she’d want to be with.
Second, there is no sense of connection to Jenna and her family’s vineyard. Hallmark might have established this more clearly through flashbacks or by having something more happen to the land. But seeing her at home seemed like she was at a hotel, not at home. It wasn’t a lack of writing attempting to make Jenna engage with as many things from her childhood as possible; it was a lack of chemistry between all performers.
Finally, Jenna and Marcelo lacked chemistry. Juan Pablo Di Pace is charming, as is his character Marcelo, but the two of them don’t mesh. Opposites usually attract, but Jenna’s character doesn’t appear to develop. This has nothing to do with my dislike for the actress but everything to do with how the character is written.
There’s nothing wrong with Jenna being obsessed with achieving her goals, but even when they try to link her with the outside world, it all comes back to this. Only as a wine enthusiast do you get a sense of who she is as a person.
And in every film, television show, or book, the audience wants to identify with the character. They want to be able to perceive that the character is more than just a stereotype.
But let’s take, for instance, when she gets a job as the head sommelier at her boyfriend’s restaurant. It was handed to her out of jealously (though you didn’t feel like the boyfriend was jealous; it’s simply typical in a Hallmark movie) after he hadn’t considered her for the position for a while.
Everything feels transactional the way these two-act. It does not appear to be a relationship. Even her resignation feels transactional. The situation is devoid of emotion.
And perhaps that is my main complaint about the film as a whole: the emotional component is missing. There was no link to the characters.
And it made me want to raise a glass to the fact that it was finally done.