Now that she is now the rightful owner of her late mother’s charity foundation, Katie Mayfield sets out to make a difference in the Englisher world she is now a part of. Everything in her life seems to be lining up perfectly, especially when her boyfriend, Justin, proposes marriage to her, which she accepts. But as she becomes more immersed in the affluent lifestyle she inherited and becomes closer to Justin, she realizes that some things are just not meant for her. Katie becomes especially confused when her childhood boyfriend, Daniel Fisher, whom she thought was dead, suddenly reappears in her life. Despite her disgust at him, he reminds her of things she had almost forgotten about herself. In the end, Katie will have to come to a reckoning of who she really is in order to move forward in the direction God wants her to go.
Production Quality (2 points)
As per usual Hallmark conventions, there are enough positive production elements in The Reckoning to make this the strongest point of the film. The camera work is professional and the video quality is solid. The audio quality is above par. For the most part, the sets and locations are realistic but not very diverse. The surroundings seem fairly realistic, but sometimes they are forced. The soundtrack is stock Hallmark music, but what do you expect at this point. The biggest problem here is the editing, which is choppy and isolating. A lot of contradictory content is crammed into ninety minutes, especially when you take into account the previous arcs of this trilogy. Transitions between scenes are awkward—the general flow of the movie is disjointed. In other words, The Reckoning is just another slapped together Hallmark production that looks good on the outside but lacks inner substance.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
From where The Confession left off, The Reckoning begins upending the continuity of the storylines and abandoning original themes. What is left in the aftermath is another run-of-the-mill Hallmark love triangle with an obvious conclusion. While Katie Mayfield seems like the same character she was before, all other characters from previous films are drastically transformed into caricatures with obvious roles in an inevitable plot. Believability and authenticity are stripped from the characters, leaving them as empty shells to be played in Hallmark’s money game. One interesting thing that is addressed in this film is the values conflict between Katie and Justin, but why is Justin made out to be such a rigidly godless character with no basis? If Katie wanted to get away from the strict Amish ways, why did she vaguely return to them by the end of the trilogy? What was even the point of her leaving? Basically, The Reckoning feels like a cheaply rushed and forced conclusion to an otherwise okay film trilogy. Little thought was put into this work, because who can dare to stop the Hallmark machine from churning out another cheesy inspirational movie?
Acting Quality (.5 point)
Katie Leclerc, the only returning cast member, is also the only good actress in this film. The Lancaster County Trilogy has already been plagued by lack of cast continuity, but The Reckoning really takes the cake. A majority of the replacement actors and actresses bear no resemblance whatsoever to previously portrayed characters. It’s like they’re not even trying. In addition, no effort is placed on acting coaching, as line delivery and emotional delivery are very flat and straightforward. Also, these characters have been #Hallmarked with overuse of makeup and costuming.
This is, in short, a disappointing end to a trilogy that had a lot of potential. Instead of trying to follow closer to the original novel or at least putting some amount of thought into portraying the characters as realistic, another good idea gets swept along in the wake left by Hallmark’s pursuit of money. The powers that be of Hallmark constantly treat their viewers as stupid, seemingly thinking that their mindless movie content and gross alterations will go unnoticed because people just want to watch another Hallmark movie. We beg to differ and choose to believe that audiences are better than this, which means that production companies need to offer better options than this. Instead of constantly churning out stupidly forgettable movies and ruining otherwise good storylines, Hallmark needs to put their money to good use and provide a platform for those who are truly gifted and creative—without inserting their own agenda into it.
Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points