GARAGE SALE MYSTERY: THE WEDDING DRESS Jennifer Shannon has made a career of finding rare garage sale treasures to resell at her consignment store. When she finds a wedding dress that was worn on the day a groom went missing, Jennifer uses her knack for solving puzzles to investigate this unsolved cold case. After finding traces of blood on the dress, Jennifer digs deeper into the decades-old mystery. With every clue that she uncovers, she gets closer to either finding the long-missing groom, or uncovering a wedding day murder.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT: While I am very cautious when writing my reviews (especially when it comes to mystery films), I cannot guarantee that there will not be something revealed here that you didn’t know about the film. I promise to not tell you “who dunnit,” but if you are worried about spoilers, please stop reading now. Otherwise, let’s dive in!
Welcome to the most unusual installment in the Garage Sale Mystery movie series (at least in my opinion). At the inception of this tale, we step back in time to a wedding where an unsolved tragedy occurs. It looks like a picture-perfect wedding, but as we know, looks can be deceiving.
We leave that tragic scene and fast-forward to the present.
Enter our lovable antique collector-sleuth, Jennifer Shannon, played by the enchanting Lori Loughlin who always manages to immerse herself into any role she is given with such ease, charm, and poise. If I had to describe her performance in this film, I would definitely say she portrays this character in such a way that it seems like this role was envisioned with her in mind. Lori is such an unbelievable actress that it seems like we could say that about any of her roles, but this is one of my favorites for her. My 12-year-old daughter adores this series of films as well because she’s a little #Heartie, and she recognizes Lori as Abigail. (And of course, I grew up on Full House, so what can I say?)
Along with Lori, we joyously welcome back Sarah Strange as Dani, Eva Bourne as Hannah, and Steve Bacic as Jason. It’s always a treat to welcome back familiar faces, and all interact with Jennifer in their characteristic way. Dani is trying to keep Jennifer on the straight and narrow (easier said than done). Hannah is attempting to figure out life and love. And Jason is simply trying to keep his beautiful wife from being harmed due to her insatiable curiosity. Also, keep an eye out for the monstrously talented and good-looking Madison Smith who plays Tyler, Hannah’s boyfriend. While Jennifer is up to her usual tricks, she has some family drama that only makes the movie even more delectable.
Can you believe it? Cheryl Ladd stars in this film, and she is an absolute legend! She plays the role of Helen (she is the bride from the opening of the picture who never recovered from her decades-old wedding day tragedy). Cheryl is an unparalleled actress, and as with any role of her career, she is perfectly cast. Her portrayal of the disconsolate bride who never recovered from her loss engenders true sympathy on the part of the viewer. The depth and warmth that she brings to Helen is enough to break one’s heart. Add in the singular talents of Lori, and you have a match made in heaven.
As the long-suffering Detective Lynwood, Kevin O’ Grady returns to deal with the ever-inquisitive and almost meddlesome Jennifer (who often puts herself in physical danger while attempting to solve the mystery), and he plays his role as brilliantly as ever. I am always delighted to see Kevin and Lori interact as their characters tend to lighten what would otherwise be a sometimes intense mystery. Their impeccable comedic timing is unquestioned.
As you guessed (I hope you read the title of the film), this mystery does involve a wedding dress. No spoilers here, but I wonder what is burning?? Well, just know that this is a pivotal part of the film–be sure to pay close attention to every clue that Jennifer uncovers lest you miss something important. After all, even she struggles to unravel the mystery.
As my daughter and I watched this film, we were absolutely delighted and stupefied. The story uses a lot of flashbacks as Jennifer tries to fit the sketchy pieces together. As the story escalates to a conclusion, I believe you will agree with my statement that this is the most unusual of the series. Notwithstanding, this installment is easily my favorite due to the captivating story and mesmerizing on-screen performances.
Special mention, I think, should go to Eva Bourne. I had not realized who she was until I saw her as a recurring character on When Calls the Heart, and so I found her especially charming as I watched her play the conflicted daughter of Jennifer and Jason. Most exquisite were the mother-daughter dynamics between these two. No doubt, it takes a unique group of people who are able to accomplish the feat of putting forth movies that entertain and teach. This film has the distinct honor of accomplishing both goals with ease and prowess.
So did we figure out the mystery? No, neither of us did. And the ending has an unusual twist that makes things truly intriguing. I highly recommend this story for everyone in the family–a true cozy mystery with no profanity, no gratuitous violence, and no bedrooms scenes. This is wholesome family entertainment at its finest. I don’t know how Hallmark does it, but they have cornered the market on their mystery films and they always attract the cream of the crop when it comes to actors. Oftentimes, I think to myself that it can’t get any better, but without exception, Hallmark always manages to prove me wrong (much to my delight).
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