Secrets at the Museum (2023 Lifetime)
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Director: Glenn Ciano
Writer: Amy Irons
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Synopsis (via Lifetime)
Natalie is an independent artist estranged from her father. Although her family owns the prominent Freeman Museum, she uses her late mother’s maiden name to keep her identity a secret from everyone–including her artist boyfriend, Alex. When Natalie’s father dies, she takes on ownership of the museum with the help of her late father’s assistant, Derrick. Natalie quickly learns that someone has been stealing paintings and replacing them with counterfeits. But due to the nature of her father’s untimely death, Natalie realizes she’s not the only one keeping secrets. In her search for the truth, Natalie encounters dangers that threaten not only the museum but her life as well. Could someone close to her be intent on destroying the museum? Chelsea Vale, Forest Quaglia star. (2023)
The movie begins with an elegant art showing. A young girl sits in her dead mom’s office, sadly drawing sunflowers. She makes friends with a boy on a crutch whose dad, Mr. Mason, is PISSED because his painting isn’t in the exhibit. Mr. Mason made a deal with the little girl’s mother on a napkin contract before she died. He storms out of the museum and is hit by a car and killed. Leaving the little boy with crutches with a dead dad,
Cut to the grown-up little girl. (We assume.) Her name is Natalie, and she still loves ART! She paints with her friends Maya and Alex. (Well, she is the subject of the painting, actually.) Alex hides his initials into each of his paintings as a security measure. Natalie’s dad has a heart attack, and a phone call from the hospital ends the painting session. Alex is sad and rejected.
Natalie keeps Alex at a distance by lying about her last name so he doesn’t learn she is from a famous art family. While her father recovers from his heart attack, Natalie meets with an art curator named Derrek (Jonathan Lipnicki). Natalie’s dad is very thankful for Natalie and apologizes for not being a better father after her mother died. (This is supposed to be a touching moment, but I can’t help but wonder how her dad got out of the hospital so quickly.)
At another art show, Dominique Swain shows up!!?!?!? (former lifetime VIP and is sorely underused now.) She plays an art appraiser who accuses Natalie’s dad of stolen artwork. The stress is too much for his heart, and he dies as someone stands over him with a cane.
The obituary in the paper reveals Natalie’s identity as Natalie Freeman. It includes a strange photo of Natalie with her father. Alex feels betrayed and isn’t there for Natalie when she needs him. Alex is an art forger and has a vendetta against the Freeman family. (Is he the boy with the cruthes?) Natalie’s nerdy friend Luke fills in for him. He helps her determine her father’s last will and instructions.
Alex leaves town and paints Natalie THE UGLISET PORTRAIT OF HERSELF!!!!!!!!!!!!! She looks at it and pretends to cry while drinking wine.
Natalie speaks at her father’s memorial or maybe a funeral. She announces that she will fill in her father’s shoes as the museum curator. Despite being in a sleepy, rainy town, Derek is excited to have a job still and is giving total surfer vibes. Alex watches the funeral from afar.
Natalie randomly gets attacked in her home and hit in the head with a vase/ The intruder steals her portrait. Maya finds her friend unconscious and calls a detective. He tells Natalie to go to the hospital, but she refuses. Later, she recounts what happens to Derek as he breaks into her dad’s office.
Alex paints over his portrait of Natalie and sulks around the house. His sister becomes concerned and talks about his dad, Adnausim. All the dad talk upsets Alex, who broodingly shouts, “I’m NOT DAD!” (So angsty!)
Dominique Swain tells Natalie about the forgery and blames herself for his death. Natalie doesn’t believe that her family’s music and reputation are on the line, but when Dominique Swain shows her some more fake paintings on display, she freaks out. Natalie takes pictures of the art and looks for clues over dinner with the nerdy guy, Luke.
Natalie finds an AD initials and suspects Alex might be the forger but wants to get proof. She asks the security guard, Tina, to get her some footage of the night that her father died. (Why this wasn’t done before, I have no idea!) Tina reviews the footage and sees Derek, whom she has been secretly dating, standing over the dad with a fire poker. Tina emails the video to Natalie. At that very moment, Tina gets a text from Derek asking her to meet him on the roof.
Jonathan Lipnicki is a BAD GUY?!?!?! He drags Tina to the railing and pushes her over. Then he plans Natalie’s dad’s heart pills on Tina’s dead body. The detectives find a note on Tina’s body and tell Natalie she was behind everything. It is really Jonathan Lipnicki, who is the son from the beginning of the movie. Natalie pieces it together, but not before Jonathan Lipnicki kills Alex with a bat. (Oh wait, Alex lives)
Natalie runs onto the scene, screaming like a maniac. She is really over the top and swings the bat at Jonathan Lipnicki. The detectives come back and arrest him for murdering everyone.
The museum’s reputation is saved, and Natalie creates an exhibit with her friend’s paintings from the movie’s beginning. Alex and his sister are touched to be featured. Natalie and the nerd guy DON’T END UP TOGETHER?!?!?! WAIT, WHAT?!!!?
Side Note/Stray Thoughts
If this is Jonathan Lipnicki‘s comeback, I’ll take it! More of him in Lifetime movies!
This movie was very, very dumb. The paintings were all horrendous.
That being said, you should watch for Lifetime VIP Dominique Swain and see a total trainwreck of a movie.
Numbers of Kills: 🔪🔪 (2 knives)
Enjoyment Level (1-5 scale)
🍷🍷 (2 Glasses of Wine)
Should you watch it?
Pour it up! (Give it a shot)
Put a Cork in It (Skip It)
What did you think of the movie? Let me know in the comments or on social media @LifetimeUncorked & @patrickmiguel
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