Two Turtle Doves (2019 Hallmark Movies & Mysteries)
Synopsis (via Hallmark)
Dr. Sharon Hayes returns home to search for a beloved family, heirloom. With the help of an adorable little girl and her dispirited father, together, they rediscover the magic of Christmas.
Dr. Sharon is a neuroscientist, and she is nominated for a fellowship. (With a grant of half a million dollars.) She is going home for the holidays to celebrate with her pregnant cousin Lucy. (She eats cookies with mayonnaise.) It is the first time Dr. Sharon has been home since her grandmother’s funeral. (who practically raised her).
Once home, Dr. Sharon runs into so many people who love her and her deceased grandmother. When they hear Dr. Sharon is single, they pull up pictures of eligible men on their phones. There is Ethel, the local baker (who is in an interracial relationship, on Hallmark!), Andrea and Ms. Pat from the counseling center, and Sam Taylor. (Played by Michael Rady.)
Sam Taylor saves her from the unsolicited matchmakers. He is her grandmother’s estate attorney and sets up a meeting with Dr. Sharon. At the meeting, we learn that Sam has a daughter named Mikayla and is a widower. Grandma Vera compiled a list of Christmas traditions and a voice recording with instructions. Dr. Sharon listens and cries. (Good acting here from Nikki Deloach.)
Ghost Grandma’s voicemail is as follows:
“Let me know when it is ready, oh! Well, it’s not a great start. My dear Sharon. Please know that I’m squeezing you right now. Even if you can’t feel it. I’m so proud of the woman you’ve become, Share Bear. After your mother passed away, it occurred to you that I might leave this world while you are still fairly young. So, I started jotting down family Christmas traditions in these journals. So you will always have a connection with the Harper women who love you. These are yours. In my experience, having something to focus on is the best way to keep going. And because, my little scientist, I know you love clear parameters for an experiment. I’m giving you until Christmas to complete 12 of these cherished Christmas traditions. One for each of our 12 Days of Christmas ornaments. I promise once your done, you will know if this house and this town are the place for you or not. There is no wrong answer, only discovery. I love you!”
Dr. Sharon is inspired and tries to convince cousin Lucy to join her to complete the list; cousin Lucy is too sad. Sam, his daughter, and a random guy named Alex help her. They put up Christmas lights, go Christmas tree shopping, and trim the tree together. Mikayla is pretty demanding about where to put the decorations.
It is time for Dr. Sharon’s favorite part of the list, putting up the 12 ornaments of Christmas. She will put up one decoration for each item on Grandma Vera’s list. Her great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, grandfather made the ornaments. The two turtle doves ornament is Dr. Sharon’s favorite because it causes people to fall in love. The damn ornament is missing, of course.
Sam and Dr. Sharon talk and bond over their shared grief during Christmas. Compleating the list is more complicated than Dr. Sharon thought, and she doesn’t understand why Grandma Vera would make her do it alone. Sam offers to help, and they spend more time together. At the Christmas tree lighting, Mikayla gets on stage and asks the town for a Christmas miracle by finding the two turtle doves ornament. The whole town, “Awwws.”
Periodically get a voice-over from Ghost Grandma while Dr. Sharon bakes cookies, or whatever.
This year, Hallmark is doubling down on the New York vs. Small town mentality. Sam gives an impassioned speech on the rat race in the big city. Don’t get him wrong he LOVES New York/Thai food and used to live there, but he adjusted his dream, and his big-city friends left him behind. Does he miss it? Not really, he loves the small-town life! Dr. Sharon doesn’t get much clarity from this speech and is more confused than ever.
Back to this grief thing. Mikayla is also struggling to complete Christmas traditions that bring back the memory of her mother. She admits to her father that she thinks Christmas is sad, and she felt alone in her sadness. Sam and Dr. Sharon comfort her by owning up to their grief. They promise to make up some new Christmas traditions together and to have fun during the holiday.
Then something REALLY unusual happens for a Hallmark movie. They all get together, snuggle up on the couch, and watch It’s a Wonderful life?!?! (Now, I’m crying?)
As “12 Days Of Christmas” (instrumental version) play, Dr. Sharon crosses all the items off her list and hangs up ornaments. The only decoration left is the two turtle doves.
Sam and Dr. Sharon go to dinner and ice skating on a date. Dr. Sharon’s interview for the fellowship gets rescheduled for Dec 21st. She has to make a decision and REALLY doesn’t want to. Dr. Sharon makes up her mind and wants to be with Sam. She goes in for a kiss; he pumps the breaks because “he wants to know that she is all in.” and he doesn’t want to affect her decision about the fellowship.
The fellowship interview happens. Instead of speaking, Dr. Sharon plays a video of her giving a speech. The panel is impressed by the number of views the video has. She opens up about her grandmother passing away and how it brought her to her knees. She gets the fellowship. She will use it to write a book about dealing with grief.
Meanwhile, Sam and Mikayla find the two turtle doves ornament (It is hideous, BTW.) in an old box in their house. Grandma Vera hired Sam’s wife to make a replica of the ornament and gave her the original as a reference.
Dr. Sharon comes back to town and tells Sam the news. She will be staying in town for a year, and they kiss. He shows her the two turtle doves ornament, and they kiss some more as Ghost Grandma voice plays.
Minority Report: Ethel, Professor Warren, Miss Pat, the mayor. (All of these characters are minor.)
Two lead actors are outstanding in this film. Grief at Christmas is an important topic to explore, and the actors did it justice.
🎄🎄🎄🎄 (4 Christmas Trees)
🍷🍷 (2 glasses of wine required)
*Photo Credit: © 2019 Crown Media United States, LLC