Abby and John fell in love in high school, went to college together, got married, and came back to the small town where they grew up. They raised a family together, but now they are growing apart. They are ready to file for divorce when their daughter comes home from college suddenly engaged to her boyfriend. Not wanting to spoil her time, they decide to hold off until she gets married. However, Abby’s father uses this time to step into their business to find out what’s really going on between them. Forced to work together for their daughter’s wedding, Abby and John begin to relive why they fell in love in the first place. But they must rekindle their romance before time runs out.
Production Quality (2 points)
Not to be deterred from their endless factory model of manufacturing inspirational films ripped off from popular authors, Hallmark always spends the money on production quality. Clear video quality is evident, as is professional camera work. Audio quality is consistent throughout, but there’s the ever present generic melancholy-serene Hallmark soundtrack to listen to throughout the scenes. While the sets and locations seem above board, they are actually quite limited and dressed up to have that ‘magical’ Hallmark look. As will be expounded upon shortly, the editing is lazy and sloppy, leaving the viewer with a half-effort plot. In other words, A Time to Dance is business as usual for Hallmark.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
Anything good about this plot can be credited to Karen Kingsbury, not Hallmark. The otherwise interesting novel A Time to Dance has officially been #Hallmarked. What was an intriguing plot about a highly pertinent issue facing many Christians—namely broken marriages—has been transformed into a mellow and boring snoozefest full of the typical Hallmark emptiness and the unrealistic fairy tale alternate realities. Complete with cardboard characters that spew obvious dialogue designed to drive the plot along, viewers who choose to watch this disaster will be dragged out over a nearly one hundred minute runtime of melancholy delay of the inevitable just to have the so-called conflict resolved in five minutes or less. The conflicts therein are extremely empty, as are the relationships between the characters. We can’t appreciate or understand anything they’re going through because it doesn’t seem real. There is far more telling than showing; for example, we are told about things that happen off screen or are informed of things that happened in the past rather than being provided with a flashback. Also, the Christian message is very manufactured and plastic. I could go on and on, but the same old truth remains: Hallmark has no regard for preserving good plot ideas, they only care about making money.
Acting Quality (0 points)
What else is new? The acting is forced and stiff. Line delivery is very awkward and sometime monotone; emotions are almost nonexistent. As usual, every cast member has far too much makeup and look like either washed up wannabes or desperate wannabes. The Hallmark acting rule is to throw a bunch of big names in the film so the commercials will catch people’s attention but to do nothing to actually coach them. But at this point, we don’t expect anything different.
Hallmark has a real chance to bring great Christian novels to life. They have the resources, they have the connections, and they have the marketing to do this well. But instead, they settle for half-measures to improve their profit margins. People desperately want to see wholesome entertainment, and Hallmark claims to provide this, but they are short on delivering it. A Time to Dance could have been an inspiring Christian film on an important topic, but instead, it just became another forgettable show of Hallmark pageantry.
Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points