#Mahalia, #FriendshipNeverDies, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia – Review

Robin Roberts Presents: Mahalia – Lifetime – 3 hours and 0 minutes

In 1923, Aunt Duke shooed away onlookers as they listen to young Mahalia sing in her Louisiana home.  Aunt Duke walked into the house and made Mahalia stop.  She won’t allow Mahalia to get baptized because she doesn’t sing gospel music the proper way.  Years later, Mahalia is married and works as a maid.  She tried to make an album, but it flopped.  But her husband, Ike, still has big dreams for her singing career.  He urges her to try out for Hot Mikado, and against her better judgment, Mahalia tries out.  She comes unprepared but sings from the depths of her soul.  When Mahalia gets home, Ike tells her she got the part.  But Mahalia won’t take it.  The play goes against everything she believes in, so she can’t sing about it.  Eight years later, Mahalia owes a beauty shop and its building, has three tenants paying rent, and got a divorce.  But she still dreams of singing and saves money to build a temple.  She has a gig in the south, but her regular piano player, Estelle, won’t come.  Estelle offers to watch the shop instead.  Estelle promises Mahalia that Estelle’s protégé, Mildred, is ready for the job.  Mahalia gives Mildred a chance, and while Mildred is good, she isn’t Mahalia great yet.  As Mahalia sings in the gospel circuit, she garners the attention of Mrs. Berman at Apollo Records.  Mrs. Berman wants Mahalia to sing the blues, but Mahalia refuses.  Mahaila believes that blues is only pain and that pain has no place to go.  She believes that gospel music is the cure for the blues.  Mrs. Berman allows Mahalia to sing her songs her way, but she has two hours to record.  After an all-night session, Mahalia records Move On Up A Little Higher (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It shatters records with two million album sales.  As she sings worldwide, Mahalia battles the secular struggles of racism, love, greed, and self-acceptance.

Danielle Brooks’ performance gives Mahalia Jackson the flowers she knowingly deserves (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  This movie doesn’t gloss over Mahalia’s struggles in the gospel industry, but it faces them head-on.  Mahalia dreamed of building a temple of worship, and she did through her voice.  She helped usher the Civil Rights Movement with fundraisers, sermons, and songs.  Through several marriages, illnesses, and disappointments, Mahalia continues to mother all those in need.  She feeds strangers and friends while adopting a young boy with no family.  Mahalia strived for perfection in herself and others, so she never felt good enough.  She constantly questions herself, but never her faith.  This need for consistent growth helped drive her career to become the Queen of Gospel.  Allow her story to inspire you, and in turn, build her temple. 

I give it 5 out of 5 stars

Your gift will tell you how to live – Aunt Duke

I can’t stand to live with any more pain – Mahalia

Maybe in 100 years a college degree will do a negro some good – Ike

Oh god – Mildred

Don’t expect any praise. Mahalia saves all her praise for god – Estelle

To she, who knocks.  It will open – Russell

You’re the truest person I know – Studs

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Friendship Never Dies – Review

Friendship Never Dies – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

After someone murders Brianna’s mother, Mindy, Evelyn pleads with her mom, Lucy, to let Brianna move in with them.  Lucy conceded but only until they can get in touch with Mindy’s cousin.  As Brianna and Evelyn get closer, Lucy feels that something’s off about Brianna.  Lucy’s concern grows when Greg accosts her on the street.  He warns Lucy that Brianna is conniving, and Brianna convinced Mindy to break up with him with false allegations.  In fear, Lucy starts her car alarm and walks away from Greg.  Lucy looks into Brianna’s past and learns that Brianna’s last school expelled her for breaking another student’s nose.  Then Evelyn’s English teacher, Ms. Walsh, accuses Brianna of plagiarizing Evelyn’s English paper.  Lucy confronts Brianna, but Evelyn said she turned in the term paper without Brianna’s knowledge.  Lucy accepts the excuse but worries that Brianna is manipulating her daughter.  Lucy’s suspicion becomes real when more people in Brianna’s life die the same way Mindy did.  Lucy will come face to face with a painful reality and a lighter.

This suspense thriller gives Lifetimers plenty of mystery with lots of dubious characters.  You will start to question Brianna, Evelyn, Greg, Alex, and Lucy’s motives.  As the plot exposes whereabouts, you will cross unsubs off your list.  And you will go back and forth between the final 2.  Even though the police have one person in custody, a necklace will make you question who the real puppet master is.  This movie is prime for part 2, and you will want it.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Perfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring – Brianna

Who cares what her mom would have wanted – Evelyn

Let’s not borrow trouble – Lucy

I wasn’t going to fall for her manipulation and lies – Greg

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V.C. Andrews’ Hidden Jewel – Review

V.C. Andrews’ Hidden Jewel – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

On the eve of Pearl’s high school graduation, family and friends come to celebrate her valedictorian accomplishment.  Pearl’s dreams include becoming a doctor and making her parents, Ruby and Beau, proud.  At the party, Pearl’s aunt, Jeanne, gives Pearl a photo album.  As Pearl flips through the pages, she sees a familiar face from her dreams.  It’s Paul.  Ruby asks Jeanne who put the picture in the album, but Jeanne doesn’t know.  Pearl tells Ruby that she dreams about this man every night.  In her dreams, he is drowning.  Ruby believes this is an omen.  Bad gris-gris will descend upon the family, and Ruby must atone, or something tragic will happen to the family.  Beau believes Ruby’s predictions are a byproduct of her bayou upbringing.  While Ruby left the bayou, she still keeps the faith.  To help Ruby forget about the gris-gris, Pearl suggests the family go to the country house to unwind.  At the country house, Pearl’s twin brothers, Jean and Pierre, play in the yard.  Pierre points out a turtle to Jean, and Jean tries to pet it but doesn’t see the snake.  The snake strikes, and despite the family’s best efforts, Jean dies.  Each member of the Laundry family blames themselves, but Ruby takes it especially hard because of the gris-gris.  Then, Pierre passes out, and his condition worsens.  Ruby decides to leave her family to find who put a curse on her.  She wants to beg for their forgiveness to save her family.  As Ruby goes the holistic route, Pearl takes another course.  She opens her schoolbooks and researches broken heart syndrome.  When modern medicine doesn’t work, Dr. Lefevre tells Pearl that family can help Pierre, especially his mother.  Pearl goes on the hunt for Ruby, and the one thing Ruby tried to forget: her past.  

Based on Hidden Jewel, this movie clears up all the characters’ wrongdoings in the previous books (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  It settles the score with Buster, creates a loving twin connection, and puts Gladys in her place.  You have zero unanswered questions for each character’s outcome.  This installment grounds the book back to its bayou roots and opens Pearl’s eyes to another way of life.  Embracing Ruby’s past and religion will allow Pearl to become more open-minded and a better doctor.  If you don’t want this story to end, read the Book 5 prequel to the Landry family story.  For some spice, Pearl gets a love interest too.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

A lot of people can’t let go of their demons or past – Ruby

Babe, you have to let go of these silly bayou superstitions – Beau

Then, you need to figure it out – Pearl

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Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Review

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Psychologist Dr. Miranda runs the Breakup Bootcamp.  It helps people get over their failed relationships with six-themed weeks.
     Week 1: Release – Kickboxing
     Week 2: Endurance – Exercising
     Week 3: Teamwork – Escape Room
     Week 4: Connection – Salsa Dancing
     Week 5: Trust – Open up to the Group
     Week 6: Closure – Bonfire
After an interview on ‘Good Day Portland,’ Miranda goes to dinner.  After her meal, she waits outside of the restaurant for her car and sees Ben standing there.  Ben tells Miranda that his girlfriend, Jen, broke up with him because he works too much.  Miranda comforts him, and he goes home.  The next day, Ben’s sister, Kim, shows him a flyer for the Breakup Bootcamp.  She wants to get over her ex-boyfriend and tried other programs, but they didn’t work.  She heard great reviews about this one and wants to give it a try.  But she doesn’t want to do it alone.  So, Kim asks Ben to go with her.  She thinks it will help him because Ben hasn’t had a successful relationship since his ex-girlfriend turns down his marriage proposal.  Before he walks in on the first day, Ben sees Miranda outside the group therapy room.  He doesn’t waste any time telling her his true feelings about the self-help group and others like it.  When Miranda walks into the room and reveals herself, Ben is stunned.  Ben decides not to take the class.  But his boss wants Ben to do an exposé on the boot camp for the magazine.  If he writes a compelling article, Ben will get a feature editor promotion.  So Ben goes back to the boot camp and gives it the college try.  But with each week, he grows closer to Miranda.  Will the love end when she reads his article titled Fad or Phenomenon?

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart is one of those few movies that unknowingly helps while it entertains.  Every person deals with a break-up but may not have healed from it.  One of the themed weeks is what you may need to get over the failed relationship.  The movie takes the time to warn about rebound dating, warn about cyberstalking, and tell the viewer the steps are repeatable.  Healing from a break-up is like grief; it can take several cycles to get it right.  Also, hearing the boot campers’ love-gone-wrong stories allows you to connect on a deeper level.  The product placement was extremely obvious and, therefore, distracting, and there was a missed love connection.  But that can wait until part two.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

I do, and I choose my career – Ben

I think they charge an extra cleaning fee for that – Miranda

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