No doubt, From The Heart was an artfully crafted combination of romance and humor, grounded in a compelling narrative both present and historical, which made for a story that strongly challenges From Paris With Love in my all-time favorite rankings.
Occurring almost nine months after the events of Impossible Dream, the latest installment finds the POstables on the cusp of the Valentine's Day holiday, each with their hearts set on the perfect outcome in whatever way they define it.
Of course, as Oliver [and Shakespeare] remind us, "the course of true love never did run smooth," resulting in miscommunication ---or lack thereof--- and [temporarily] missed opportunities for Norman, Rita, Oliver and Shane.
An unexpected chain of events rocket Rita from fourth runner up to Miss Special Delivery. And while her dream is finally coming true, the timing couldn't have been worse, as her duties in this new capacity whisk her away from Norman and their pending holiday plans. Norman, bewildered and abandoned, struggles to navigate the space between their relationship and a viral hashtag that shall remain unidentified. Truth be told, I'm still struggling with whether the hashtag should even continue in the real world---but that's for another day!
For the other developing relationship in the DLO, Shane and Oliver's insecurities prevent them from effectively communicating, almost jeopardizing a future romance. Not to mention Oliver once again proves that he should be banned from ever sending documents containing the content of his heart through the mail. Please, someone enforce this!
All the while, two letters take center stage. Both have historical ties and the potential to change the future.
One arrived just in time to minister to Norman's broken heart over Rita's public denial of their relationship. Born of the legend of Ann Rutledge, Abraham Lincoln's first love, this letter teaches Norman the value of privacy in an age where the most intimate details of one's romantic entanglements are often plastered across public platforms.
The other tells the tale of Ryan and Maddie, who fell in love over the course of a high school debate season [making me terribly nostalgic for high school mock trial], and the actions taken in a moment of grief that changed the course of multiples lives, including Oliver's, forever.
Ryan and Maddie's story is our lesson in guarding our hearts, and what can happen when a moment of emotion overtakes our better judgment. At the same time, it's about accepting the past, but always finding a way to move forward.
But before we get to all that good stuff, there's plenty of praise to go around for all the amazing performances that took place here.
The first bit goes to Martha Williamson, who not only reinforced why she is one of the greatest storytellers of our time with this film, but also wrote and narrated the Rutledge letter. The added personal touch to a story already so close to your heart spoke volumes.
To Kristin, Eric, Geoff and Crystal---you never cease to astonish. Whether in joy or in anguish, you not only continue to grow your characters, you never fail to grow each other. With each installment you reveal new sides of, and new depth to, your characters. Needless to say it's a joy and an honor to witness. Thank you.
I don't know about you, but looks to me like 2016 is shaping up to be quite the year. Still 3 more to go! And while you wait, you can always come back to A&D--as any hardcore ADsquad member can tell you, properly reviewing these films really is an on-going project!
Grabbing My Roller-skates,