“Summer Love” Hallmark Channel Movie Review

By Ruth on August 20, 2016 in movie, review, television
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Maya Sulliway is a struggling single mom who’s studying to become an accountant. When her young daughter goes off to sleepaway camp, Maya accepts a summer internship at Kizzmit, a tech company known for developing a popular social app, in order to receive college credit. There, the thirtysomething Maya feels out of place among the company’s hip millennial interns and feels even more intimidated when she meets Colin Fitzgerald, Kizzmit’s strait-laced CFO, who has a reputation for being a highly demanding boss.

I was not planning on reviewing this before it aired, but after screening it, I was so utterly impressed with this movie–seriously, it is one of the best Hallmark films I have seen in a long time. And I don’t say that glibly by any means. I know I am known for my positive reviews, but this one goes far beyond that. I never once had to remind myself to concentrate on the positive aspects of the film. The acting, the story, and the message were one of the finest Hallmark has featured in some time. Not to mention, it was gentle, amusing, and genuinely enjoyable family viewing.

Hannah Cheramy (Addison), Rachael Leigh Cook (Maya) Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Hannah Cheramy (Addison), Rachael Leigh Cook (Maya) Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to Maya and Addison as played by Rachael and Hannah respectively. To be honest, Rachael was new to me–I am far behind on television films from the past. I am playing proverbial “catch-up” right now. Hannah was a returning favorite from both October Kiss and even My Sweet Adrina. Both actresses were enchanting, and I could sympathize with single mother Maya dropping off her techie daughter at summer camp. I think many parents will understand the dilemma. What? No cell phones at camp? Rachael infused Maya’s character with precisely the right kind of motherly intuition and skills (well, she is a mother in real life, and I would suppose that is advantageous in this situation). And Hannah characterizes Addison just as one would expect. Definitely a wonderful relationship between the two actresses to play such a convincing mother-daughter relationship on screen.

Before I comment on the other leads of the film, let me acquaint you with some other conspicuous performers to watch out for in the film.

Look for Madison Desjarlais. She is worthy of an honorable mention, and you will see her again in the next Garage Sale Mystery.

christineYou’ll probably recognize Christine Willes as Eleanor as she plays Doris in the Gourmet Detective films, and the new one is set to air on October 9 (Please don’t miss that one!). Christine is  faultless in her role for this film. I absolutely adore her and her character.

jamesI will be shocked if Hallmark audiences do not recognize James Kirk in the role of Sean. You may have seen him in Love on the Sidelines, Family for Christmas, and even an episode of Signed, Sealed, Delivered. You might even remember him from Eve’s Christmas (originally a Lifetime film, but now shown on Hallmark). He is always a genuine treat to see on screen no matter his role.

chloeChloe Babcook has been on TV in several well-known roles, and as Chloe in this film, she certainly earns an honorable mention. I plan to look up her film The Christmas Secret–not sure what network that was on, but I would be interested to find that film!

crystalAs Maya’s friend who has given her necessary part-time employment, Crystal Balint is absolutely awesome! In fact, as a minor character, she is probably one of my favorites. This gal has an incredible amount of credits to her name: October Kiss, Stolen Daughter, Ring by Spring, Cedar Cove, etc. She also has some upcoming works: Aftermath, Prison Break:Sequel. Indeed, she is a lovely actress to watch as she has quite a reputation, and her interactions with Rachael on-screen are positively divine!

aidanAiden Kahn as Josh? In addition to this role, you’ve possibly seen him in Dater’s Handbook, Garage Sale Mystery: All That Glitters is Gold, and many non-Hallmark works. And from the looks of things, he has something substantial in the works, so I’d say watch for Aiden as I expect to hear bigger things from him in the future.

hannahHannah Pederson lends her talents to the role of Polly, and we’ve seen her in Murder, She Baked: A Deadly Recipe and Garage Sale Mystery: The Deadly Room. Of course, plenty more than just Hallmark, but she deserves a notable mention in this film.

mattI couldn’t place Matt Visser, and then when I investigated, I discovered he had a small, pivotal role in Autumn Dreams. His career may just be  in its inception, but he is here momentarily as a freshman, so pay attention.

rhona

As the camp counselor, Rhona Rees does some integral work in this film, and we’ve seen this actress in an episode of Signed, Sealed, Delivered, amongst other non-Hallmark works. Her credit history is massive, so it makes sense why I remember her role in this film as she makes it unforgettable as a season professional does.

zacharyIf you remember The Christmas Note, you just may remember Zachary Gulka. He is deserving of a mention in this film as well, and we just may be seeing more of him in the future.

In truth, every actor in the film as well as every crew member warrants a celebrated reference as this film never lagged nor lost my attention no matter what. I have only touched on the highlights when it comes to the minor characters, but at least you know the preeminent supporting cast, and I promise I’ll be watching specifically for these again the next time I watch it (in just an hour or so from now).

Lucas Bryant, Rachael Leigh Cook, Travis Milne, Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Lucas Bryant, Rachael Leigh Cook, Travis Milne, Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

It is these three, however, who absolutely make the film what it is. Such unparalleled acting and interactions between Lucas, Rachael and Travis. No, it’s not the “three stooges,” for these three tell a much more compelling story and give stunningly impressive performances that far supersede the antics of those superb comedians from another era. While the story does involve a love triangle, Hallmark’s writers seem to avoid the pitfalls we sometimes witness when viewing films that revolve around that particular issue. In fact, jealousy doesn’t even seem to be the dilemma between the two young men. At least, not jealousy over the young lady’s affections.

Travis Milne will) Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Travis Milne (Will) Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

As the “lovable jerk,” Travis portrays the smooth-talking, forward-thinking Will who is often looking for a means to an end. Unfortunately, he is not overly principled in his business dealings nor his relationships. He sees the attractive, vivacious Maya, and he decides to woo her right from the outset. He is not as interested in her brains per se. Thankfully, he is open to discovering a new world with Maya at times, but when he sees his chance to get ahead, no matter the tactics, he is a bit unscrupulous. We can only hope that he will see his fallacy before it’s too late because yes, he is handsome, a quick wit, and can always provide a good time to those who are out on the town with him. Maya learns that on more than one occasion. Recently, I interviewed Travis about this very role, and I agree one hundred percent with his take on the film and the character.

Lucas Bryant Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Lucas Bryant (Colin)  Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

As the more traditional, reserved but suave businessman, Lucas portrays Colin brilliantly. In fact, I was more drawn to his character from the start, for he is the quieter character, and that’s often more my style. He is the one who is the effective leader, and he does things by the book to the letter of the law. In fact, Will is a source of irritation to him as we can see because Will is more about bending the rules. They’re the ideal foils for each other, and Lucas merely immerses himself in this strong, silent character. He sees Maya’s beauty, no doubt, but he sees more than that. He is impressed by her demeanor and her commitment to the causes about which she is passionate. He admires her long before he falls for her. In fact, I would venture to say the “falling in love” part happens without his even recognizing it. He prefers to remain in the background, but when Will breaks too many points of protocol, he does step in and attempt to rectify the situation if he can.  I adored Lucas in Tulips in Spring, but I probably even preferred him in this role because he portrays Colin with such dignified grandeur that just draws me in. I had no heart palpitations as I watched his character’s interactions (until the end–I will admit to having a few chills of ecstasy). And I also was blessed to interview Lucas recently about his character in this film. Don’t think that Travis is the only one with a sense of humor. Lucas can have quite a wicked sense of humor himself, but he was more restrained in this film. Notwithstanding, I believe you will see it sneak out even within such an austere character as Colin.

Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Of course, if you wonder who the unquestioned star of the film is–it is none other than Rachael. This woman is phenomenal in the role of Maya. Not only does she have those extraordinary character interactions with her on-screen daughter, but she has an effortless way of infusing Maya with exactly the appropriate kind of emotion, expression, and more that fits the scene impeccably every time. I know I call many of the actors and actresses consummate professionals, and I always mean it. But when I call Rachael a consummate professional, she is in a different echelon, as far as I’m concerned. She raises the bar for every leading actress at Hallmark, especially those who are new to the brand. She has brought her expertise and exceptional acting chops to the minutiae of every single moment that she is on camera. Nothing is counterfeit nor forced. I never thought, “Rachael is playing Maya.” I just thought of her as Maya, and not every actress can pull off that feat.

 

Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Whether rock-climbing,

Travis Milne, Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Travis Milne, Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

 

enjoying a romantic dinner al fresco with Will, or

 

Lucas Bryant, Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Lucas Bryant, Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

on a houseboat with Colin, Maya has that grace, sweetness, and unspoiled nature about her as only Rachael can portray. True, other actresses could have played the role, but not with the joi de vivre and sheer professionalism that Rachael brings. Recently, I interviewed Rachael as well, and I am completely sold on her as a person and an actress.

travis-rachael-lucas.png.pngAt the core of this film, is the message of integrity and not permitting anything to squelch your dreams. And remembering what is important in this world. I can hardly wait to watch this film this evening (August 20) on the Hallmark network because even though I’ve already seen it, the second viewing is bound to be better. I hope everyone will tune in–I realize there are other things competing for your time and attention, but I cannot recommend this film highly enough. Please at least set your DVR!

For more information:

http://www.hallmarkchannel.com/summer-love

 Hannah Cheramy, Lucas Bryan, Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

Hannah Cheramy, Lucas Bryan, Rachael Leigh Cook Credit: Copyright 2016 Crown Media United States LLC/Photographer: Ryan Plummer

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher

19 Comments

  1. Linda Manns Linneman August 21, 2016 Reply

    This sounds so good and I missed it. I love watching the Hallmark movies. They are usually so good. Thank you for sharing this. I can’t wait to see it

    • Author
      Ruth August 21, 2016 Reply

      Linda, they will be repeating it soon. Be sure to check your listings. In fact, I remember reading that there was a Summer Nights marathon coming up so if you missed any in the series, you can see them!

  2. Joan Matthews August 24, 2016 Reply

    Thank you so much for reviewing this wonderful little gem of a movie.
    My husband and I just finished watching it.
    This was such a sweet, warm and lovely movie.
    I have been a fan of Rachel’s for many years and she was just amazing in the role of Maya.
    She had chemistry with everyone of her co-stars.

    I am definitely going to buy this one when it comes out on DVD!

    • Author
      Ruth August 24, 2016 Reply

      Thank you Joan! I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I did. I would definitely buy it as well!

  3. Joan Matthews August 24, 2016 Reply

    Hello Ruth,

    You are very welcome. I really enjoy reading your blog. I should have said that sooner. 🙂

    Have a wonderful day!

  4. Ana August 31, 2016 Reply

    Hey Ruth
    Thank you for the review.May I know the name of the song that plays in the background during the opening and closing scenes?

    • Author
      Ruth September 4, 2016 Reply

      Here’s the response from the composer : it’s called Gonna Find My Way To You, by Dave Tough. Hope that helps! https://t.co/MzcH3IZotG

  5. Wahaj Ahmed September 6, 2016 Reply

    Awsome reveiw
    can anyone tell me the name of the last song
    which was in the background of kiss scene 🙂

    • Author
      Ruth September 6, 2016 Reply

      Is this one not it? Gonna Find My Way To You, by Dave Tough.

  6. Arslan September 18, 2016 Reply

    Hello !
    thanks for sharing this simple ..lovely story ..
    I’d like to know the name of last song when Colin met with Maya.

    Thank you!

    • Author
      Ruth September 20, 2016 Reply

      As stated in another comment: Here’s the response from the composer : it’s called Gonna Find My Way To You, by Dave Tough. Hope that helps! https://t.co/MzcH3IZotG

  7. Melinda Berlin October 4, 2016 Reply

    I love Hallmark movies, I will have to watch this one =)

  8. Susan October 9, 2016 Reply

    It isn’t that song :Gonna Find My Way To You, by Dave Tough, at the last scene, I am desperately looking for that song, it’s in my head all the time and I couldn’t find it. Please help 🙂

  9. Miriam March 17, 2017 Reply

    I’m searching for another song from the movie. The one that plays when the interns work on the step-app at Maya’s home. Does anyone have an idea where I can find this great tune?
    Just can’t get it out of my head…

  10. E A Deets August 26, 2017 Reply

    What was the name on the back of the sailboat used in the movie summer love ?

    • Author
      Ruth August 26, 2017 Reply

      I am so sorry, I am afraid I do not know, and I am not able to look it up at present, but hopefully, another fan will jump in and ask.

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