SIGNED,SEALED, DELIVERED: THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM: The POstables – a special group of Post Office Investigators – are all in attendance at an emergency Senate committee hearing, declaring they have information that could help rescue a soldier and reunite her with her family, while Rita competes for the National Miss Special Delivery title in Washington, D.C.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT: While I do all within my power to not reveal anything that would potentially spoil this movie, even Hallmark itself has released some pictures that I would consider “spoilers.” So read on only with the understanding that you may find out something you didn’t know previously about this movie or series.
From the opening scene of the film to the very last, I was completely mesmerized by the acting, the storyline, and the message of this film. In fact, I will be as bold as to say this. This movie made me proud to be both a Christian and an American. This story reminded me of what is excellent, wholesome, and true in this country of ours. We are so often bombarded with negativism that we forget there are those who do the proper thing and are guided by their faith. And it is also a reminder that God can use any circumstance for the furtherance of His will. No vessel is too stained, charred, bruised or broken.
Let’s talk about Steve first, shall we? Yes POstable friends, we finally meet Shane’s old flame, and he is played brilliantly by Mark Valley. As I looked over Mark’s impressive resume, I discovered I had probably seen him in a couple of things here and there, and indeed he is perfectly cast in this role. While it’s clear that he and Shane have a history…
there is not a major cause for apprehension. After all, we know that Shane and Oliver belong together, right? Mark and Kristin interact exactly in the way you would expect old flames to act. Not an effortless chemistry at all, but it is easy to detect that there was something there once.
I know these pictures may disturb POstables (don’t worry, Oliver is perturbed, too), but I’ll let you discover the actual story. Steve turns out to be a more respectable guy than I thought he would be, and the way Mark portrays him, I almost found myself feeling sorry for him. After all, when Shane received the birthday card during the last film, I was certain he was only coming back into Shane’s life to break her heart all over again. And I was anxious that the old sparks were still there. All I can say is remember, this is Hallmark, and be confident in the fact that happy endings are always assured. It’s the journey that makes the show or film worth watching. Although Mark fits the suave, debonair, pleasant Steve immeasurably well, I still say he needs to keep his character away from our Shane!
What I noticed about our beloved Postables is that they have become a truly united team. I adore the scene when we first see them enter because it is as though they have so bonded that they are ready for any battle. No one is going to break up this team, and more importantly this, team is unstoppable. They shall never fail in their mission, and they will never permit anything to break them up.
Returning as the cherished Norman, Geoff has given us another masterful performance. Norman is one of those characters who always surprises me. In the beginning, Norman was just a delightfully quirky guy who is devoted to his job and did not know how to properly express himself in emotional situations. While much of that hasn’t changed, Norman has now become a force with whom to be reckoned. He has become fiercely protective of Rita, and it is her needs, wants, and desires that drive most of the things he does. In fact, Norman is the perfect example of putting others first. He would do anything he could to aid another individual no matter the cost. And Rita is now foremost in his thoughts.
This film will test Norman and Rita in a way they have not been tested before. While Norman is always putting Rita first, he doesn’t always think through all the potential consequences of his actions. But again, this is Hallmark. And since it is Norman, we always know that we can forgive him if anything goes wrong (and I’m sure Rita will feel the same way). I sometimes wonder how much of himself Geoff has injected into the character of Norman, but regardless, every facial expression, vocal intonation, and body movement is so much a part of who his character has become that I sometimes forget Geoff is depicting a character. I can categorically declare that no one else could play Norman the way Geoff does as he has been responsible for breathing life into this delightful character. I never question the authenticity he brings to the role, and I believe we fans have been treated to something very special in Geoff Gustafson as he has made Norman lovable more than laughable.
Equally so with Rita, Crystal gives a performance that has always resonated with us fans. My daughter’s favorite character has always been Rita, and Crystal has crafted her character into the sweet, intelligent, sometimes offbeat character she has become. Rita reaches new heights in this film as she has come to Washington D.C. to compete for Miss National Special Delivery. In so many ways, Rita is so much more comfortable with the woman she has become, but once in a while, she still has those moments of awkwardness. While she knows that Norman is interested in her, there still are those times that she is not as sure of where she stands with him. Although an absolute beauty queen, there are still instants where she does not seem to be as comfortable in her own skin, i.e., the tap-dancing routine.
But this scene at the pageant is one when the true nature and heart of Rita is revealed as none other. Seconds before this, Norman reveals something that changes the course of the pageant for her, but instead of wallowing in self-pity or anything antagonistic (as most women would have–when you see this scene you’ll understand what I mean), Rita rises to the occasion. I was most proud of Rita because of her actions under pressure. And, of course, we have the fabulous Martha Williamson to thank for the writing of this scene and the lovely Crystal to applaud for her interpretation of this scene.
This gal, Christina Bianco, gives an unbelievably stunning performance of The Impossible Dream, always one of my favorite songs. I was completely blown away, and it is Crystal’s character who gives this singer the chance to shine.
I cannot applaud Crystal enough for the way she has injected so much authenticity into the character of Rita. Some actresses would come off as too “nerdy” or possibly even weak. Not so in Crystal’s case. She has given Rita the quiet beauty and strength of a woman who believes the best about everyone and when under pressure, always puts others first no matter what.
Crystal as Rita is never more radiant than in this scene. At the beginning of this series, Rita was not someone with whom I connected quite as much. However, because of the way in which Crystal has continued to characterize her (and the fact that I have witnessed the graceful and down-to-earth way in which Crystal presents herself on social media with her fans), she has risen in my affections. It is her depiction that has endeared me to her character, and there is no way under the sun that anyone could play Rita as convincingly and as sweetly.
From the beginning, I connected with the character of Shane on an immensely deep level. I always said I was a cross between Shane and Oliver, and thus, they were my favorites from the beginning. And Kristin Booth has delivered another striking performance as she always does. Over the course of the series, Shane has transformed for the better, but Kristin has kept Shane the wonderfully curious workaholic that she was in the beginning. It has been her dealings with Oliver who have caused her not to be as jaded as she once was. And as she returns to her “old stomping grounds,” we go on a somewhat sentimental journey with Shane. Shane always wants to appear strong and in control, so when she has to deal with her emotions, she naturally wants to tuck them away. Especially when Oliver is around. Even though there is an understanding between Oliver and Shane, I think it’s still safe to say that neither one is exactly sure of where they stand with the other. We as spectators know, but communication between the two is still often stinted.
As Shane, Kristin is absolutely matchless. She has so immersed herself in this role that I never question the authenticity of any of her mannerisms, facial expressions, or anything else she brings to the character. In fact, Kristin is responsible for creating the character we have come to know as Shane. Yes, Martha Williamson devised the character on paper, but Kristin brings Shane to life. What I loved about this film was that we see the tower of strength that Shane has become. The Shane from the early days would have reacted more in the situations in which she finds herself in this film, but we witness a determined and matter-of-fact Shane who controls the situation rather than the other way around. I applaud Kristin in her amazing portrayal. I thought I couldn’t love Shane more, and then I saw her performance in this film. I delightfully tip my hat to Kristin and say that I was wrong–I adore Shane even more now!
With Oliver, Shane has become much more assured of herself. I promise that I cried for the last several minutes of the film, and not only because of the obvious ending that had to occur for the girl and her grandfather, but because of what Oliver did for Shane. I hadn’t expected to cry over that, but the love he showed Shane went beyond what I even expected from Oliver. I won’t ruin this part for you except to say make sure you have a box of tissues handy as you are going to need them.
It has never been any secret that my favorite character in the series is Oliver as played by Eric Mabius. I can never forget the actor who sent me my first “celebrity tweet,” but my admiration for Oliver goes far beyond that. Oliver is one who has an appreciation for words, and that alone captures my attention since I am a writer. I love the fact that he is old-fashioned in so many ways, and his faith is what guides his every decision. Eric gives such a masterful performance every time he portrays this complex character, and I think he has more to do with my adoration for this character than anything else.
While I have raved about Eric’s performance as Oliver in the past, I have to say that he has yet again topped himself. I always expect Eric to give a stupendous performance, but every time he blows me away with his massive talent. While I know that Eric has had an astounding career with well-loved characters throughout, Oliver is one to whom he seems to give special attention.
It is Oliver’s stirring speech here that caused me to almost shout, “Eric Mabius deserves and Emmy!” (Actually, I whispered those words instead.) Seeing the conviction with which Oliver speaks to government and pleads the case of this family who is awaiting news of a missing family member really resonated with me to the core. Moreover, as can always be expected in this series, faith and the Bible occupt a prominent place in solving the mystery at hand. Seeing the very heart of Oliver not only persuades the government, but it also reminds me why I revere this series so much. The interplay between the four POstables is phenomenal, but it will always be Eric’s portrayal of Oliver that is the pinnacle for me. Yes, we need the other three characters, and they are stellar in their own right, but without Oliver, all would be for naught, at least in my humble opinion. He is the force behind this crew (he is the leader after all). Furthermore, it is Martha Williamson who is the true genius behind the entire production, and I cannot thank Hallmark enough for allowing this gifted woman to continue to bring her stories to their screen.
So whatever you choose to do on this Sunday, October 4, don’t forget to tune into Hallmark Movies & Mysteries this evening for a film that you will soon not forget. As I said in the beginning, if this film does not make you proud to be a Christian and an American, I may question whether there is breath within your soul.
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