Well you guys, it’s time for the next season of Hallmark movies. I loved WinterFest last year and I wish they had kept that title. Instead they’ve changed it to “New Year New Movies”, which is just awful in comparison. Plus I loved seeing all the different spins on Winter Festivals. Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the winter themed movies so I am cautiously optimistic here. There is a rumor though, that this particular “film” was so terrible that it was canned last year so I really can’t WAIT! Let’s get after it.
Our lead, Jenna wears a sweater cape in her beautifully winter decorated home. Her friend Erin arrives and Jenna greets her with a basket of scones. Who puts their baked goods in a basket like Little Red Riding Hood? Erin gives her a ride into town. My dad gets outraged that neither Jenna nor Erin have a “puff ball” on the top of their beanie.
Jenna tells her class they are going to perform at the end of the Avon Winter Festival. Right before class starts, two moms approach Jenna about their daughters. OMINOUS.
Meanwhile, Ryan is at hockey practice for the NEW YORK RANGERS. His ankle is bothering him. He is not where he needs to be athletically. He is like, well I’ve done all the rehab work so you should let me play. And his coach is like, you’re not good anymore so…no. Also, that’s not how any of this works.
Back at the dance studio, the moms tell Jenna that they are pulling their girls out of the ballet studio so they can be on a competitive dance team. The dance program the girls joined is cleverly titled “Dance Company.” Very original. Anyway, that is NOT what Jenna wants dance to be about.
Later, Jenna has a weird fancy dinner with her cousin, Terry. He is a scout for the D league hockey team for the New York Rangers. Terry realizes that Jenna had the same injury as Ryan. She tells him that a few professional football players have used ballet to come back from similar injuries. Well isn’t that interesting?
Outside the rink, Ryan signs an autograph for a fan. He is still visibly injured as he limps away. Then he talks to Terry, who conveniently is also his agent, about it. Ryan is like, I’ve done everything there is to do! Like that should be enough to just let him back on the team? Or does he just want to be put out to pasture? Terry tries to talk him in to using ballet to heal his injury. It’s either that or not playing hockey Ryan! That old boy’s probably only got a couple good years left anyway! In sports years, Luke McFarlane is straight up ELDERLY.
Terry talks to Jenna about training Ryan or teaching him ballet. BUT IT’S NOT WHAT SHE DOES. She doesn’t want to make any more money than she does right now. No dance team, no extra training. Curiously, immediately after that conversation, outside the studio, Jenna tries to ask the owner of the building to hold off on raising her rent. Too bad she doesn’t have a really easy solution for making up that difference. Jenna finally wises up and agrees to train Ryan.
Ryan reluctantly heads up north to stay in Jenna’s guest house. How about she just teaches dance in that “guest house” she’s getting set up for Ryan? What is she doing in that giant house and seemingly barely scraping by?
Jenna gets the house all ready for Ryan. Erin freaks about her favorite Ranger staying there. Jenna doesn’t know anything about sports. Doesn’t care about sports. Didn’t bother to google the famous person staying at her home like any sane person.
Later, Ryan struggles to find the key to let himself in. I do think Jenna should have met him there but maybe she runs it like an Airbnb. Anyway, he eventually figures it out.
Later, Jenna returns to discover that Ryan has really made himself at home. He thought the main house was the rental. BUT WHY? Why would this GIANT HOUSE be the rental house? Maybe no one told him it would be on the same property as the dance instructor’s. I am going to have to just go with that and keep this moving. When Jenna shows him the studio above the garage, he is visibly disappointed. Plus it’s above the garage, and he a is king. So how dare she? But for real, why is he disappointed about staying at this lovely over the garage loft? It’s so cute. Jenna even points this out which I think is NECESSARY because Ryan is basically being rude. However, the TV in this loft is broken which is a disaster, frankly. Why wouldn’t you get that TV fixed? Or just get a new one for your rental space? As a consolation, Jenna tells Ryan a little about the town’s month long winter festival. Sounds fun! This movie would go really well with a WINTER FEST THEME. No Chill Erin stops by and re-gifts her, what several day old(?) scones to Ryan.
Ryan arrives an hour late to his first lesson with Jenna. He thinks she will cancel the class she is about to teach with young children so he can have a private session. Instead, he reluctantly joins the kids’ class. I gotta say, this guy is so rude. But Luke McFarlane is the one trying to play a rude character so you kind of still like him? The WORST.
The next morning, Ryan can barely move. He’s so sore from his first class. If it’s anything like barre, then SAME GIRL.
Jenna makes Ryan the bougiest cup of coffee in the land-a pour over. Ryan agrees that this is, at the very least, the snobbiest cup of coffee he’s ever had. Yes, correct. Then Ryan cuts himself a piece of quiche like an ANIMAL. Seriously is he cutting it in a half circle? What in the world is he doing with that thing? Then Ryan hobbles out to get to weight lifting…in jeans.
Ryan arrives LATE again to ballet in JEANS again. WHY DID YOU EVEN PACK JEANS? And does he have to wear those shoes? Jenna suggests he use her pond as an ice bath. Ryan seems excited about doing a mini polar bear plunge in the lake behind Jenna’s house. Then they get down to business. Jenna also gives him a real life lesson about planning your life. Like maybe being flexible and having new dreams or whatever. He asks why she quit dancing professionally. She doesn’t answer.
Later, Erin and her husband, Matt come over for dinner. I think they are going to the winter festival too. Then Jenna discovers that Ryan ordered a TV for himself. She’s shocked that he doesn’t want to sit in his apartment alone every night for a month. Then Erin invites Ryan to the winter festivities. It actually sounds SO FUN.
At the festival, Ryan struggles to make small talk with Jenna’s friends. Ryan literally only thinks about hockey. HOCKEY HOCKEY HOCKEY. Ryan talks Jenna into playing outdoor air hockey. Jenna is really good. She somehow has a pink handle too. Ryan asks again why she quit dancing but they are interrupted by Matt and Erin. OMINOUS.
Jenna has SO MANY WINTER lights up at her house. Is that even allowed? Ryan thanks Jenna for a fun evening.
The next day, Luke gets put in his place by a young male dance student/youth hockey player.
Later, Jenna’s students rehearse for the festival. Ryan watches and is impressed by the athleticism.
Later, back at the house, Ryan and Jenna get to know each other. Ryan shares how his love for hockey began. Then Ryan remembers that he actually saw one of Jenna’s shows. They even took a picture together. Ryan says the girl in the photo with him broke up with him once he got injured. Jenna finally tells him what happened with the ballet. She basically quit over a break up? Then Jenna notices that Ryan is limping because he skated with his team and hurt his ankle. GOOD THING SHE DIDN’T LET HIM CARRY THAT SPACE HEATER.
Erin shows up to Jenna’s VERY early with URGENT NEWS. It sounds like Jenna is about to lose more students to the BIG DANCE COMPANY. This couldn’t have been in a text, Erin?
Ryan arrives ON TIME for a dance class that Jenna wanted to cancel so he could rest. So then he invites her to take a walk. Alexa is a little shrimpy shrimp!! They get a hot chocolate at an outdoor stand. They wander through the saddest clumping of cheap winter festival booths that Hallmark has ever put together. Are the signs all made by a high school student government class?
Jenna’s student do another rehearsal. Felix practices his jump. Jenna is felling good about their performance.
Jenna sees Ryan doing some stick work outside later. She invites him in for dinner and she tells Ryan more about her injury and her break up. It sounds like her injury was the reason she was fired even though she said that wasn’t why she stopped dancing professionally. So what is it Jenna? Maybe the ankle healed but they had already all moved on?
Later, Ryan sets up a lovely fire pit outside for Jenna and her friends. Matt calls Ryan’s stick ” a beauty.” Is that what you’d call it? No. You wouldn’t. Boy, Matt isn’t much to look at but he sure knows how to swing a stick. Matt tells Ryan he was actually a few days away from being drafted when his dad died. And he… had to take over the family business? He could have bought 1000 family businesses with his NHL salary. Then Felix and his dad stop by and Ryan offers to give him a hockey lesson!
Then Ryan and Jenna go get more firewood. Ryan suggests she fix the barn up to be the dance studio instead of renting space. AND I AGREE!! Jenna says it would be too expensive. Then they are ABOUT TO HAVE A MOMENT and Felix interrupts to remind them about the firewood. WHO EVEN INVITED YOU FELIX?
The next morning, Matt, Felix and Ryan head to the rink. Matt is surprised to learn that he will be giving Felix a hockey lesson. Luckily, Ryan has THREE pairs of skates and also knows that he and Matt are the same size. So that works out. Felix needs help with stick handling. Yep. He’s terrible. Truly. He is good as skating though! Good thing he does ballet. But actually I do think that would help. Then Jenna and Erin stop by. It’s a fun time for everyone.
That night, there is a big storm. They lose power so naturally, Jenna invites her friends over for a pitch black game night. Ryan finds his way over as well. When they arrive, Erin runs her big mouth about how perfect Jenna and Ryan are together before she realizes he can hear everything. Oops. Awkward.
They seem to all recover after that 20 minute commercial break so the four of them play poker. Jenna is terrible at it I guess. There are seriously so many other games they could have played. Then Erin and Matt head home. But somehow, it is too dangerous for Ryan to make it across the backyard. He asks to sleeps on the couch. The living room is the only room with heat so Jenna sleeps in the living room too. Okay so let’s recap. First, this giant house is a ONE BEDROOM? 2. The living room is the only room with heat. Got it.
Jenna is awoken by a phone call telling her a power line fell right in front of her studio so she can’t get in. Ryan invites her to the rink instead. Practice is cancelled so he wants to show Jenna how he “destresses.” With her own skates too! Also, she says she doesn’t like ice skating. WHAT! LIAR. They are having a MOMENT. And then he teaches her how to shoot and stuff. It’s kind of cute.
Back at the studio, Ryan offers to hang some flyers around the neighborhood. She sees one of the moms from the DANCE COMPANY hanging up flyers of her own. Their company is now the GRAND FINALE. Ryan tries desperately to give her advice using hockey lingo. He calls this a “power play.” Which, if we are comparing apples to apples, it’s not.
Later, Ryan tries to suggest that Jenna train more pro athletes to round out her studio. She really doesn’t want to do that. And by “that” I mean, make money.
Then Jenna and Ryan do more ballet. We have a nice little montage situation. The kids rehearsal is in the montage mix too. However, it is clear that after a month, Ryan really has not improved.
Later we have to suffer through a youth hockey game. Felix’s dad wonders if Matt wants to be a head coach of their team. Ryan, Matt’s beanie twin, suggests he just give it a try.
Later, Jenna is finally okay with Ryan suiting up and hitting the ice. We see a kid recording the practice. I wonder if that will come back to haunt anyone.
Terry runs into Ryan at the winter festival. That video got posted and it actually all worked out in Ryan’s favor. Terry wants to bring Ryan back to NYC TONIGHT. He can get started tomorrow after another quick physical.
Jenna is very encouraging of him to go. He says he wishes they had more time together. I like her leopard beanie. That’s cute. Ryan leaves and Jenna tearfully walks away. And that’s the end. Just kidding.
It’s time for the big ballet recital. Jenna is wearing a CUTE dress. Erin rushes over to show her that Ryan is actually playing in a game that night! Jenna is reluctant to watch. He scores a goal. Jenna cheers for Ryan but is very sad because she misses him.
Okay now Ryan is going to bend space and time to drive all the way up north to make it to the ballet recital. Jenna is approached by a mom that is really impressed by her training Ryan. Then, of course, Ryan shows up. Because this show must be in the middle of the night. Ryan asks to introduce the dancers. He gives a little speech and does a little ballet move. My dad pipes up and says, this is the point in the movie where I just hear “blah blah blah” and cut to the end. SAME DAD. The dancers do their little performance. Obviously. They get a standing ovation. Those two moms from earlier are feeling REGRET. Oh and apparently Felix and Ryan have a secret handshake.
Ryan signs autographs outside. He wants to talk with Jenna somewhere more private. He tells her he took a helicopter to get there. So there we go. One game in and he can take the owner’s helicopter, eh? Anyway, he wants to be wherever she lives in the “off season.” Which is basically just July and August. So FUN. Wait they LOVE EACH OTHER? My husband says, wow it should have been called “30 Days to I Love You.” Anyway, they kiss and that’s it!
So I actually kind of liked this movie. I don’t know what it is about these winter movies but I do just love them. Maybe because you get all the fun wintery parts of a Christmas movie without having to jam in a bunch of forced Christmas activities. Who knows. I do think there were A TON of loose ends though. Maybe more than any movie I’ve watched. Because let’s recap-1. Jenna is not going to change her business model to incorporate training athletes from other sports. 2. Jenna is not going to field her own competitive dance team. 3. Jenna is not going to renovate her barn to run her dance studio in house. 4. Ryan is going to spend approximately 2-4 months a year in this town. So, no one learned any lessons. This relationship is NOT going to work and Jenna will eventually lose her dance studio. Got it! At least they… TOOK A SHOT AT LOVE.