Sunday, January 14, 2018

Tonight's Movie: A Royal Winter (2017)

A ROYAL WINTER (2017) is a charming entry in a favorite Hallmark Channel subgenre, "I Didn't Know the Cute Guy I've Been Dating is a Prince." (See also: A ROYAL CHRISTMAS and more, which will doubtless be reviewed here in due course.)

Maggie (Merritt Patterson) is a recent law school grad who takes a winter vacation with her friend Sarah (Rhea Bailey) in the small European kingdom of Calpurnia.

Maggie "meets cute" with A.J. (Jack Donnelly) when he accidentally runs over her hat with his motorcycle. They enjoy getting to know one another, but then Maggie happens to visit the local museum, where the prince in the portrait gallery looks suspiciously like A.J. A quick Google on a smartphone fills in the rest.

Maggie and A.J.'s relationship continues, but his mother Queen Beatrice (Samantha Bond) disapproves of her son dating an American. The Queen also worries that A.J., whose real name is Adrian, isn't ready to be crowned as king -- not knowing that he has a secret life working on projects such as a children's foundation.

Meanwhile Maggie needs to decide whether to return to her "real life," beginning a new job at a law firm, or take a gamble and give her romance with A.J. a chance by remaining in Calpurnia.

It's quite well scripted by Ernie Barbarash and Mark Amato; Barbarash also directed. The film has particularly strong production values, filmed by Viorel Sergovici on location in Romania. Since most of the Hallmark films are produced in Canada, the European locale is a particular plus.

The two leads are charming and sympathetic, and Bond, who was Moneypenny in the Pierce Brosnan 007 films, adds some gravitas as the Queen. Ryan Ellsworth is particularly fun as a hotel manager who turns out to be a key ally for Maggie.

For those who think such a romance is unlikely, consider the story of Mary, a young Australian woman who met a handsome man named Frederik in a pub during the Sydney Olympics. The man was Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, enjoying an evening out with a group which included his cousins Prince Felipe of Spain and Prince Nikolaos of Greece. (All those intermarriages of Queen Victoria's descendants means many of the royal families are related.) Mary is now Crown Princess Mary of Denmark; 13 years after their wedding, she and Frederik have four children.

And then there's Meghan Markle, an actual American Hallmark movie actress (WHEN SPARKS FLY and DATERS HANDBOOK) who will be marrying Britain's Prince Harry in May!


Blogger barrylane said...

Fun, huh. If only Stewart Granger could be in one of these things.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

If only!

My friend Kristina has commented she can visualize some of the Hallmark scripts being done by classic-era actors.

Best wishes,

7:01 PM  
Blogger Kristina said...

Enjoy that kind of fantasy casting (re Stewart Granger). What a cool fact you threw in about Frederik and Mary-- so these stories are not too far out there :D Hallmark already has a good Meghan type with Lacey Chabert, how much do you want to bet they are working on that one as we speak... This one sounds fun, will be on the lookout for it.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Kristina, I just saw today that Lifetime is casting a Harry and Meghan movie, can Hallmark Channel be far behind? I agree, Lacey Chabert is a good Meghan type. (Plus she's one of the best Hallmark leading ladies!)

Glad you enjoyed the Frederik and Mary story!!

Best wishes,

11:06 PM  

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