Rating: ☭☭☭☭ (out of 5)
New York businesswoman, podcast host and influencer Lauren (Reiserová) is a go-getting busy bee girlboss who puts her work and career before everything else. Lauren is the Queen of the Sigma Grindset, and she shares the secrets of her success on her podcast, the 27-Hour Day, which helps listeners make the most efficient use of their time.
Lauren tries to court a business opportunity with a big-time author and lifestyle influencer, which is an opportunity that then seems to be in doubt after Lauren flubs an interview with the VIP who rebukes Lauren's severely lacking work-life balance. For this reason, among others, Lauren is convinced to attend a week-long relaxation retreat to Montana. One retreat to Montana, and an hour and a fifteen minutes of this film later, Lauren becomes a changed woman who decides to put her own personal needs before her career. Lauren is ultimately offered a chance to work with the author she was originally trying to court, but she decides to turn her down. More importantly, however, Lauren finds herself a handsome man in the process.
The film centres itself around a message of personal growth and progress, and the film itself successfully manages to build a cohesive plot pointing in this direction, but it also sometimes teeters on the mundane. Most of the film follows Lauren's stay at the retreat, where viewers watch Lauren undertake various 'relaxing' activities (picking berries, painting, canoeing, baking, etc). Most of these activities are rather boring or unimportant, but Lauren's constant (and cute) flirtations and banter with the stoic retreat boy keep things interesting. Plot development and a sense of progress is only evident in the developing feelings between Lauren and her love interest, as well as Lauren's slowly changing sigma grindset.
On paper, Lauren could very easily be an unlikable character. She's an extremely ambitious girlboss with an A-type personality, and her success could easily render herself a snob. However, Lauren doesn't seem to take herself too seriously, and she keeps and open mind and an open heart to all suggestions that come her way, as well as to dedicating herself to personal growth. Lauren is fun, witty, and very rootable. We cheer her on her journey. A large part of this is also due to Reiserová's acting, which is especially superb. Reiserová really brought life and dimension to Lauren's character, and she very successfully moulded Lauren into a hero.
The love interest also went on his own journey, but it was somewhat muddled and lost in the weeds. The love interest at first did not seem to have any real personality besides being a bit flirty (although we're also told he hasn't dated anyone in many years), or have any real motivations of his own. We eventually learn that the guy dropped his dreams of becoming a veterinarian in order to instead help maintain his mom's retreat following the death of his father (a Hallmark film would simply not be a Hallmark film without at least one deceased parent). The actor does a fine job portraying his character, but his character mostly feels one note, one dimensional, and not fully fleshed out. The love interest's actor is Canadian though, so there's that.
There doesn't seem to be any real conflict in the film whatsoever, except Lauren's own personal struggles concerning her work-life balance, but a disagreement very abruptly breaks out between Lauren and her love interest 15 minutes before the film ends, which appears to be another reoccurring theme in Hallmark movies. Thankfully, this disagreement is cleared 10 minutes later after Lauren returns to New York, and the love interest spends some time playing catch with his dog and holding a vague conversation with his mom, which then suddenly prompts him to return to veterinary school at Cornell, and to pursue a relationship with Lauren.
There were some side characters in the film, but we only care about one of them: Piggy. In fact, Piggy is probably the star and highlight of the whole show. Piggy was a piglet that lived on the retreat and was cared for by the love interest. The piglet stole every scene she was in, and we all relish in each of her appearances. Unfortunately, Piggy is sold-off rather unceremoniously near the end of the film, which is heart breaking.
The film, which is supposed to take place in New York and Montana, was actually filmed in Vancouver, BC. It has quite a few stunning shots, with mountains in the back drop. The beautiful environment in the film is aided by a very pleasant soundtrack, which sounds like something about of the Sims (but in a good way).
The romance in the film isn't necessarily the strongest, even though we do get one kissing scene before the 1 hour mark. Most of the romance comes in the form of cheeky flirtation, but it will still manage to turn your cheeks red. This Hallmark film offers more than romance though, and at least offers a compelling main character with their own interesting journey, as well as a very cute pig.
Four hammer and sickles out of five.
Bonus review from Goose (Czech Slavia): "Main character was an unrelatable workaholic, but still charming. There was a cute piglet."