#HighwayToHeaven, #HerFatalFamilySecret, and more – TV Reviews

Table of Reviews

Highway to Heaven – Review

Highway to Heaven – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Angela materializes with a mission from her boss and a stellar resumé.  Principal Bruce thinks her credentials go beyond their needs and reminds Angela that the guidance counselor job is temporary.  Angela wants to make a difference no matter how much time she has.  Within seconds, Angela gets her first test.  A teacher walks into the interview demanding Bruce help him with an unruly student, Cody.  He puts Angela up to the task.  Angela talks sense into Cody, but he doesn’t want to go to counseling.  Bruce gives Cody a choice: counseling or detention.  In counseling, Cody tells Angela he doesn’t need a fix.  Angela agrees because she believes humans need to deal with emotional pains instead.  Cody is failing math.  And if he doesn’t pass, Cody will repeat the 8th grade.  Angela asks Cody to call his dad, Jeff, but Jeff doesn’t answer.  So, Angela walks Cody home to meet Jeff in person.  Angela discovers that Cody nor Jeff have been the same since their matriarch, Melissa, died.  Jeff couldn’t get their restaurant off the ground because she was the brains, he the cook, and Cody wanted to do marketing.  When Jeff gave up on the restaurant, Cody lost again.  Angela asks Jeff about his extended family, but they are spread out all over the world.  And Jeff and Cody were Melissa’s family.  Angela must repair this fractured family, or Cody’s world will fall apart.  Lucky for Cody, Angela’s an angel. 

Based on the T.V. show, this movie is a jumping point to a holiday series and stays close to the original (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer).  As Angela works her magic, she makes miracles.  Although, it will feel as if she doesn’t know her boss’s plan either.  She knows her mission, but the journey to get there ebbs and flows, especially when Cody finds letters from his mother, a picture, and a closet full of gifts.  At times, Angela’s interference leaves Cody with a broken heart.  But as the saying goes, ‘It’s darkest before the dawn.’  Angela doesn’t give Cody what he wants.  Instead, she gives him the tools to cope.  And that will last a lifetime.  Be ready for the next movie in this series.  

I give it 4 out of 5 stars

Miracles are never ordinary.  They are carefully plan as my boss sees fit – Angela

Bravo, you read my file – Cody

What is it they say? Man plans. God laughs. -Jeff

So, he gets to decided.  What about me? – Cody

I inspired her – Bruce

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Her Fatal Family Secret – Review

Her Fatal Family Secret – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Abby packs up her desk and says goodbye to her job working for the district attorney to join the most prestigious law firm in the state.  Among her farewells is Abby’s estranged husband, Damon.  He cheated on Abby with a paralegal for the DA, and Abby demanded a divorce.  While saying goodbye to Damon, Abby gets a phone call.  Abby and Damon’s daughter, Sophie, got suspended again.  They know she is acting out, but they disagree on what to do.  Damon wants to relax the rules, but Abby wants to punish.  When Abby gets Sophie home, Abby gets a text message.  Her father, Everett, died, and the police suspect it was murder.  Stunned, Sophie wants to know why she never knew about her grandfather nor his money.  Abby tells Sophie that she doesn’t talk to that side of her family since college.  Abby puts that behind her and focuses on her new job.  On her first day, Abby’s boss, Brice, gives her their top priority case.  When Abby looks at the file, she says no and hands it back to him.  The client is her estranged sister, Adrianna.  After Everett’s nurse, Bianca, stated she saw Adrianna in Everett’s room, the police arrested Adrianna.  Adrianna requested the best attorney, and Brice picked Abby.  Abby believes it’s a conflict of interest, but Brice won’t budge.  Now Abby has to face her past, rumors, and a murderer.

Now, this movie is one to watch with two twists.  The first is a bit predictable, but the second is not, even for the most experienced Lifetime viewer.  It does take a moment to grab your attention because viewers start to see the typical Lifetime setup: bratty teen, cheating husband, and estranged family.  With preconceived notions that you know the movie, it’s easy to walk away.  But that would be a mistake.  When the story gets going, you won’t be able to look elsewhere.  DVR this movie so you can skip the commercials.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

You’re not going to do anything.  So I will – Sophie

I want to be judged by the quality of my work. Not my family’s finances – Abby

Shocking isn’t it – Adrianna

You’re cruel. You’re a cruel person – Bianca

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Gingerbread Miracle – Review

Gingerbread Miracle – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Mia moved back to her parent’s home with the hopes of being there for six months.  Two years later, she is still there with her sister, Sydney.  She applies to big law firms and uses the Casillas Panadería as her office.  Legend says if a member of the Casillas family makes you a personalized gingerbread cookie, you can make a wish, and it will come true.  The owner, Luis, makes Mia a red briefcase cookie.  She makes a wish ‘to lead me where I’m supposed to be’ and eats it.  Then, Luis tells Mia he wants to sell the Panadería to someone who will keep it a family business.

Mia promises to find the right owner, but she needs to go through the company finances first.  Mia goes through the paperwork, and the telephone rings.  It’s Alex, Luis’s nephew.  Alex got permission to work remotely and decided to come into town for Christmas.  Mia’s memories of Alex flood back into her mind.  Before she left for school, she put a letter in Alex’s pocket professing her love.  But he never called.  Then, she told Alex about her new French boyfriend, Jacque.  While the guy existed, the relationship didn’t.  With Alex in town, Mia has to confront her error face-to-face.  Alex comes home and steps right into the kitchen.  While he is a New York lawyer, he loves to cook.  However, Luis warns Alex never to let someone from his job see him in an apron.  Luis believes Alex’s co-works will look down on him for being a cook.  Then, Alex discovers that Luis is selling the Panadería and offers his services.  Mia tells Luis that she doesn’t need another lawyer looking over the paperwork, but Alex wants to approve the buyers based on their integrity.  What started as a marriage of convenience becomes a launching pad for love, only if they would talk to each other.

If Alex and Mia acted like adults, this movie wouldn’t have a plot.  She wrote him a note instead of talking to Alex and never got a response.  He found the letter and never said anything to her.  Then she lied about falling in love.  With communication being essential, it’s also an adult decision.  It becomes frustrating that childish behavior is the premise of a movie.  With that aside, the thought of wishing on gingerbread is charming for the holidays.  This predictable film is background noise to the holiday season.

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars

It’s the first Saturday of December. It’s like the Black Friday of Christmas trees – Mia

I was hinting. Yes. – Alex

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Secrets of an Escort – Review

Secrets of an Escort – LMN – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Connie works as a waitress during the day.  But she doesn’t make enough to care for her daughter, Christine, and cover her husband’s debt.  During a tumultuous marriage, Connie struggled with Jason’s gambling and abuse.  She divorced Jason and left the mainland with Christine.  While she kept Christine in the dark about Jason, Connie is an involved and loving parent.  But waitressing doesn’t pay the bills, so Connie got a night job as Veronica, the escort.  She works with a bartender, Leo, who introduces her to clients.  While Leo wants to be more, Connie refuses to mix business with pleasure.  Connie sees a regular, William, and he tells her his woes.  William’s wife, Liz, left him.  Now, he wants to start a life with Connie, and he is willing to keep paying for exclusivity.  Connie turns him down because he is in love with Veronica, not her.  At work, Connie’s boss, Mia, introduces her to the new girl, Alison.  They instantly recognize each other from college.  They were sorority sisters.  Alison tells Connie that her husband died, and she moved to start over.  As Connie shows Alison the procedures, Jason walks in and threatens her.  Before the cops can arrive, Jason leaves.  Connie gives the details to her sister, Detective Terry, but doesn’t tell Terry about her night job.  And, Connie doesn’t tell Terry that she received threatening messages from William.  Terry puts a bolo on Jason and tells Connie to stay vigilant.  After a night with a new client, Connie comes home to an empty house because Christine is at a friend’s house.  When Christine doesn’t come home in the morning, Connie panics.  Then she gets another text threatening Christine’s life.  Someone kidnapped Christine.  Can Connie find Christine without exposing her scandalous life?

With so many questionable characters in Connie’s life, she tries to work through the list without help but has more questions than answers.  Connie slides down a razor’s edge while she tries to navigate a double life for her family and clients.  Now, the plot doesn’t tell you how she got into life, just the circumstances.   This subtle difference doesn’t let the storyline get too preachy or teachable.  Viewers learn about the people in her life, and things get crazy.  Experienced Lifetimers can pick out the kidnapper halfway into the movie.  Others may need more time, but it’s a deadly reveal.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

To new friends and new experiences – Veronica

Best doesn’t mean easy – Terry

I guess I didn’t expect to need you so much – William

Does mommy and daddy know he’s out this late – Leo

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Christmas Sail – Review

Christmas Sail – Hallmark – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Liz and her daughter, Hannah, go back to Portside after Liz’s father, Dennis, injures himself saving a child.  Liz hasn’t been home for years, and Dennis doesn’t look forward to the holidays.  When they arrive at the docks, Liz sees her old friend Luke.  Liz inquires about the $25,000 grand prize banners.  Luke tells Liz that the town added the grand prize to their Festival of Lights boat decorating contest to draw in more tourists.  And it worked! But he tells Liz that Dennis could never enter with his boat.  Liz stops in her tracks because Dennis said he sold his boat.

Liz looks at it, and it is in shambles.  When she sees Dennis, she asks him about the boat and its condition.  He never got around to selling, but he will soon.  In the morning, Liz walks around town for Christmas decor for Dennis’s home.  Then, Hannah sees the house in a real estate flyer.  Dennis ran late on his payments because of his wife’s medical bills.  If he doesn’t come up with the money, he will lose his home.  So, he decided to sell it.  After losing her mother, Liz thinks giving up the house would be too much to bear.  She has a settlement check coming, but it’s not enough to cover the debt.  Liz gets a crazy idea to enter the Christmas contest.  If Liz gets the boat together, she could save Dennis’s home.  But Liz will need help.  Good thing she has Hannah to convince Luke to join their team.

This movie feels like the stereotype Hallmark movie, which it is, but it’s the last 5 minutes that will make you reach for the tissues.  A loving tribute to Christmas, a family, love, and a boat sail bring a family and relationship together.  So give the film a chance.  With a charming child softening a Scrooge, this film gives you all the feels in a predictable format.  Other than that, be prepared for an easy-going watch for the holiday season.  

I give it 3 out of 5 stars

Sure, but I dressed myself – Luke

All I wanted to do was give Hannah a good Christmas . This year, instead, I took her to the place Christmas goes to die – Liz

Oh he does.  In his own way – Joyce

Pretty please, Mr. Luke.  Won’t you make a little girl’s Christmas dream come true – Hannnah

What I’m told – Dennis

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A Picture Perfect Wedding – Review

A Picture Perfect Wedding – UPtv – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Lindsey shows her photography portfolio to Maxine, the best wedding planner in the city.  But Maxine isn’t impressed.  Maxine wants Lindsey to get more experience before she adds Lindsey to her roster.  Lindsey sits and drinks her coffee when she gets a call.  A man saw Lindsey’s self-published photo book.  Now, he wants to hire her for his sister’s wedding.  Funny enough, Lindsey looks around, sees the man standing at the cafe, and motions him to come over.  After talking to Lindsey, Josh thinks she is a perfect fit for Hannah’s wedding, but he wants to make sure Hannah likes Lindsey first.  So he collects Lindsey’s information and gives it to Hannah.  A few days later, Hannah is near Lindsey’s office and comes by.  Hannah tells Lindsey she will need Lindsey to take pictures of all the events, the wedding, and the reception over the 3-day weekend.  Lindsey gives Hannah a price, and Hannah breathes a sigh of relief at the low number.  Hannah hires Lindsey on the spot.  Lindsey needs to do well at this job because Maxine blackballed her to other wedding planners.  Hannah and Josh come from a well-known family with lots of money.  If Lindsey does well, her pictures will go viral.  And Maxine’s judgments won’t matter.  When Lindsey gets at the family’s home, she meets with Josh and starts taking photos.  Josh pulls Lindsey aside to talk to Hannah’s wedding planner.  It’s Maxine.  Maxine begrudgingly works with Lindsey but wants Lindsey to follow her guidelines.  Lindsey tries, but a dress, an ex-girlfriend, and the bride will make Lindsey find her way.

While this movie offers a love story, it didn’t need it to accomplish the messages.  While watching, don’t give up on Maxine.  She comes off like Cruella, but she is a woman under a lot of pressure.  As Maxine works with Lindsey, this ice queen will melt and show her true colors.  Lindsey has this effect on Josh too.  His father wants him to continue the family business, but Josh loves architecture.   Lindsey helps this family come together at a time of celebration.  This movie is a pleasurable watch, but it should not take up space on your DVR.  

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars

Shoes are the windows to a man’s soul – Lindsey

Hey, its my superpower – Josh

Oh, done. Actually, I though it would be higher – Hannah

Excuse me. I need to fire the caterer – Maxine

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The Christmas Promise – Review

The Christmas Promise – HMM – 2 hours and 0 minutes

Nicole works at the Toy Emporium with her friend, Teddy.  Her fiancé, Henry, started the store, and she knits sweaters for the teddy bears and dolls.  While people love her knits, Nicole’s focused on the store.  After work, Henry comes in with good news. He will finish renovations on their home soon, and they can enjoy married life in their new home.  But for now, they will attend Susan’s annual holiday party.  During the party, Susan needs more ice, and Henry offers to get it.  After some time, Nicole starts to worry because Henry isn’t back.  Then she gets a call.  Henry died in a car accident.  A year later, Nicole’s friends and family worry about her.  So, they invite her to all the holiday celebrations.  Then, Nicole tells them she decided to sell the Toy Emporium and the house.  The toy store was Henry’s dream, and she doesn’t want to continue without him.  And that real estate agent, Tom, will sell the house too, but she must finish the renovations.  Tom offers to call a carpenter, Joe, to complete the work at a fair price.

Nicole agrees to Joe’s quote and goes to her grandfather, Pops, for advice.  Years ago, Pops became a widower.  He doesn’t want Nicole to be brave around him nor fall into depression.  One technique that helped him was writing letters to his wife after she passed away.  He wrote a letter about anything that happened that day and what he was feeling.  Nicole goes home and picks up her phone.  She writes Henry a text message.  To her surprise, she gets a message back.  The owner of Henry’s old cell number understands Nicole’s loss and gives her comforting words.  Soon, family and friends see the change in Nicole but will her enlighten mood end when she sees her texter for the first time.  

This movie will pull you in, but one viewing is enough.  It does give great advice about dealing with love and loss.  As Nicole’s friends and family see her give up her store and house, they worry she is depressed.  However, Nicole wants to find a path for herself.  Nicole realized she’s been following Henry’s dreams for years.  Now, Nicole wants to venture out and start new.  With the nudge from her unknown texter, she feels secure to move forward.  Change isn’t bad but staying within your grief is.  If you lost a loved one recently, this movie could be hard to handle.

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

So, take care of me and heat up that pizza – Pops

Take my hand.  I got you NIk.  I got you – Gail

Let the light in, huh – Nicole

Then, let me walk you home twice – Joe

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Torn From Her Arms – Review

Torn From Her Arms – Lifetime – 2 hours and 0 minutes

For days, Cindy sits in a cell with other women and kids, unsure of their fate.  One day, an officer comes into the room and tells all the kids to line up.  Cindy watches her daughter, Ximena, walk out with no idea of where Ximena will go or if she will return.  Ximena runs to Cindy and hugs her through the chain-linked fence.  A few days later, the women board a bus to a detention center in Texas.  When Cindy asks about Ximena, the officers won’t answer her questions.  Cindy arrives at a prison and finds several women with stories like hers.  One woman, a Somalian political refugee, hopes to stay in the U.S. or face death.  Cindy doesn’t know that Ximena is in Arizona with dozens of children.  The officers feed the children twice a day and don’t interact with them.  A new officer, Stella, left the army because she couldn’t create a health care plan for her daughter.   When she meets the kids, the smell takes her back.  She notices the children don’t have a place to bathe and a few portapotties.  She hears their cries, and it bothers her.  When she sees Ximena wet herself, Stella takes her to the bathroom to help Ximena clean up.  Appalled by the children’s living conditions, Stella secretly records the children’s cries and sends them to Ginger, a reporter for ProPublica.

In Texas, Cindy walks into a room and sits with Thelma, an immigration lawyer.  Thelma takes Cindy’s information but makes no promises.  Thelma tells Cindy that she can’t solicit clients, but if Cindy asks, then she can help.  Cindy asks Thelma to be her lawyer.  Next, Cindy asks for Thelma’s price, and Thelma’s pro bono rate thrills Cindy.  Cindy inquires about Ximena and takes all her information.  In a few months, Stella, Ginger, and Thelma will unknowingly collaborate for Cindy and Ximena.  And it all comes together with Ximena’s memory.

Based on actual events, this movie gives lots of detailed information about how the authorities enacted the Administration’s Zero Tolerance policy without oversight, communication, or a plan for reuniting families.  With children lost in the U.S. adoption system, it’s easy to see how the government could lose track of migrant children and not care because their parents committed a crime.  Imprisoning parents and children happened before, but children stayed with their parents if the crime was minor.  But under the new policy, enforcers did not consider the degree of the crime, and they took any child away.  Since the media exposure, the government rescinded the policy but only on paper.  This movie gives an in-depth look at who was and how they exposed the policy’s effect.  Often, the government does not consider the aftereffects or the steps needed to amend any policy.  No matter what side you take, this movie will strike a chord in anyone.  And for more information to help, check out supportkind.org.

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

Now a days watching the news is the best way to ruin a good nights sleep – Thelma

Where did you take her – Cindy

I’m not the story – Ginger

I do and I don’t think I’m alone – Stella

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Categories: A Picture Perfect Christmas, A Picture Perfect Wedding, Anita Leeman Torres, Ashley Ross, Autumn Noel, Barry Watson, Ben Daon, Camila Nuñez, Christmas Sail, Countdown to Christmas, Dylan Bruno, Emily Tennant, Fall in Love, Fátima Molina, Gingerbread Miracle, Gloria Reuben, hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, Hateful and Grateful, Her Fatal Family Secret, HMM, Its A Wonderful Lifetime, Jill Scott, Jim Klock, Jon Ecker, Judy Reyes, Katee Sackhoff, lifetime, lifetime movie network, lmn, Love Sundays, Made for TV, Merritt Patterson, Miracles of Christmas, movie, Patrick Duffy, Patrick Sabongui, Pauline Egan, review, Robert Moloney, Sabrina Stull, Secrets of an Escort, Sheena Peña, Terry O'Quinn, The Christmas Promise, Torn from Her Arms, Torrey DeVitto, tv review, Tyler Johnston, UPtv, Victoria Bidewell

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