HELLO, IT’S ME – Two years after her husband dies in a sudden accident, Annie and her two children are left to cope with the loss. Annie can’t imagine falling in love again, until she meets a wealthy bachelor who is drawn to her free spirit. Afraid to love again, she longs for guidance when she starts to develop feelings for this new man. Her prayers are answered when she starts receiving communications from her late husband that encourage her to follow her heart.
From the opening scenes of this film, I was drawn into the storyline. But by way of full disclosure, I already had made up my mind to like the film since Kellie Martin and Kavan Smith were the stars. I have adored Kellie Martin since her Life Goes On days (a fond memory of my high school years). I’m rather new to the world of Kavan Smith as I only noticed him for the first time on When Calls the Heart this past season although I discovered I actually had seen him in previous works. While I will review both of these actors a bit later in my review, let me just say that this movie not only met my expectations, but I believe it is safe to say that it surpassed them as well.
The beginning of the film was rather arduous to watch, I will admit. I was not familiar with the work of any of these actors except for Kellie, but that didn’t stand in the way of those opening scenes. As Andre, Annie’s husband who was tragically killed shortly after that opening scene, Chad was absolutely perfect. While his role is small, he continues to pop up as the movie continues. As it seems he has quite a resume, I hope to see him in more works so I can view the depth of his talent. The way in which he relates to the other actors in this picture is perfect–exactly what you would expect from a devoted father and husband.
Two years after this family tragedy, widow Annie meets millionaire James almost by accident. Through a series of seeming coincidences, their paths continue to cross. They discover that they enjoy each other’s company, and it seems to enter their minds that maybe there is a future for them together.
But as you can imagine, there are obstacles in their way that threaten to bring an end to their relationship before it even starts. This is one of those elements–unusual cell phone occurrences. As it says in the summary, Annie believes she is receiving messages from her dead husband via her cell phone, and it is those messages that seem to guide her throughout the story.
Now I’ll be honest–I do not believe she is actually receiving messages from beyond the grave, but no matter what you believe, I never found that part of the story objectionable in any way. Hallmark leaves it open to the viewer’s interpretation, and there are a variety of explanations concerning these messages. Regardless, it’s what Annie believes that drives the story to its heartwarming conclusion.
As Ella, Annie’s teenage daughter, Erin Pitt plays the character who is trying to find herself and protect her mom from hurt at the same time. As one would expect due to the tragedy, Ella is withdrawn and easily perturbed. However, with her mom, she walks on eggshells lest she says the wrong thing and cause her mom to explode. Erin is supremely cast, and seeing her transformation over the course of the movie is a veritable treat. Moreover, her interactions with Kevan are flawless and refreshing.
Equally engaging is James Fulton who plays Annie’s younger son, Milo. He is full of life and instantly connects with Kavan’s character. Witnessing their genuine interactions only endeared me more to both of these actors. It is apparent that Kavan must unquestionably cherish working with children because he relates to James so authentically and at times with reckless abandon. Nothing against our principal stars, but James somewhat steals the show with his cuteness (although Kavan comes pretty doggone close).
Into every happy love story, there is always a dark cloud, and in this case, it’s a mother. Played by Janet-Laine Grenn, she is the typical mother of a wealthy bachelor who wants her son to marry in order to provide for a stable financial future and social standing. Though they play rather typecast roles when in scenes together, Janet-Laine and Kavan bring a certain expertise to their conversations and interactions that set them apart.
When “Mommy” is introduced to her son’s business partner/potential girlfriend, she is as charmingly condescending as expected. Thankfully, Kavan’s character is able to quickly resolve and lay to rest any fears and concerns that his mother has caused, and Kellie’s character is able to breathe a sigh of relief.
In the end, James does break free from his mom, and in most ways, she seems to support his decision. The awkward conversation they have near the end of the movie is supremely acted to the minutest detail–certainly a nod to their acting prowess.
Thankfully, Annie has a great friend who is sometimes just a bit pushy, but she is able to help rescue her from her self-imposed prison. And it is Rachael Crawford who plays Ericka, the friend that would never give up on Annie. Again, she relates to Kellie with the same authenticity that we have grown accustomed to seeing on Hallmark. As supporting actors and actresses are often used in multiple films, so I will definitely keep a lookout for Rachael in the future.
As Annie, the young widow who has practically given up dreams and love, the radiant Kellie is ideally cast. There has never been a film or show in which I haven’t liked Kellie, and now that she does many films for Hallmark, it’s a joy to be able to see her more regularly. Again, Kellie, though absolutely gorgeous, it a unique person. She is naturally beautiful with a very distinctive face and smile, and she is a petite but imposing lady who is not about to be underestimated.
There is no doubt in my mind that Kellie has thoroughly immersed herself in this role as she always does with every role. She never struggles to make her acting look effortless, and her down-to-earth nature is even more appealing. I was enchanted with her character because she made Annie so credible and alluring. Even though I don’t believe that it’s possible to contact someone from beyond the grave, I never questioned Annie’s conviction that she was hearing from her husband. I couldn’t call into question anything that Kellie did because her delightful portrayal just captivated me.
From the moment Kavan Smith joined When Calls the Heart last season, I was a fan. Not only is he extremely handsome (but again unlike the cookie cutter guys that often play in these kinds of films), but his acting is utterly incredible. Whenever he is on the screen, his natural charisma draws me to him, and I never dispute the credibility of his performance. His portrayal of James is decidedly spot on, and filled with spontaneity, boyish optimism, and deeply sensitive emotion. How could you not love his portrayal of James? Easy to see why Annie fell for him.
Together, Kellie and Kavan are pure heaven on the screen. Their interactions and even the inclusion of the children makes everything about this story work. Their chemistry can be described as smooth and sweet. Kavan plays the man who is so in love with this beautiful, free-spirited, and caring woman who doesn’t want to push her too hard but longs to aid her in the realization of all of her dreams that have lain dormant for too long. His character’s gentleness is exactly what Kellie’s character needs. My only complaint about the movie is that it was over far too quickly. I would have relished seeing more interactions between these two.
In the casting of Kellie and Kavan, Hallmark has made one of the most intelligent choices in casting I have seen in a while. To have two attractive, talented, and unique actors opposite each other makes this movie exceed expectations in the extreme. Both of these professionals are fully engaged in the story and interact with each other and the other actors involved in the movie with such perfection that is often not witnessed in movies today. I hope that Hallmark realizes what a wonderful casting choice they have made, and here is hoping these two make more movies together in the future.
Don’t miss this movie on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries network premiering on Sunday, September 27!
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