It’s Valentine’s Week. Have you bought the perfect gift for your sweetheart yet? If you haven’t, have I got the gift for you! It’s called The Story of Us Card Keeper Box!
You too can keep love letters, greeting cards (wink wink), receipts, batteries, and the edges of paper you tore off for your chewed up gum in this pretty box! I often forget that Hallmark is a greeting card company, so it makes sense that there’s a product tie-in. I was informed of it on Twitter after complaining that the title of the film lacks “love” or “valentine.”
So what’s The Story of Us: The movie about?
Jamie learns that her first love Sawyer is the architect of a development that wants to change her beloved neighborhood and threatens her bookstore. Can old Valentines help them see eye to eye? Starring Maggie Lawson and Sam Page.
This is a Hallmark bingo of a film so I’m more excited than usual.
The film begins in a small town. Everything is quaint. There are adorable schoolchildren, a man walking his cute puppy, and a bunch of local cafes. Our protagonist, Jamie, enters one of these pastel cafes, pulls a cat out from her bag, and starts the day.
She kicks off the day by selling a book to a guy that hasn’t heard of Amazon. Jamie then gets some bad news about a local shop closing, the third one this year. This ties in with a letter from the city council inviting everyone to a town hall focused on neighborhood development plans.
Jamie marches to her aunt’s nearby flower shop to discuss the letter. They’re both worried that the Waterford business district will change into a mixed-use space that could potentially drive revenue for the entire town.
Cut to the big city of Portland, Oregon. We see a strong-jawed man named Sawyer giving a presentation about changing Waterford into a mixed-use space that will drive revenue for the entire town. His boss lady is impressed enough to offer an in-house role if he secures the development contract. It’s his hometown so she banks on him being able to do it.
Back at said town, Jamie is moaning to her employee Lucy about the town hall. It was her dream to own a breakeven café/bookshop called “True Love,” and these developers are cocking it all up. Lucy tries to take Jamie’s mind off the matter by having the team spy on a surprise marriage proposal. Apparently, this bookstore is the hot spot for proposals according to Jamie.
Sawyer arrives in Waterford and crashes at his friend’s place who just so happens to also be Jamie’s baked goods supplier, Rick. They start talking girls. It appears Rick has a crush on Lucy and he needs Sawyer’s advice to ensure that he is not relegated to the friendzone. They concoct a foolproof plan to win Lucy’s love: Sawyer is to play wingman at Rick’s Valentine’s cooking class.
The next day, Sawyer goes on a nostalgic tour of the town and walks straight into True Love (the café/bookshop). He bumps into Jamie (the film’s true love) and sparks fly. He left Waterford roughly 15 years ago, so this is a surprise for our female protagonist.
As they talk about the bookstore, Jamie reveals her disdain for the developers and what they may bring. Sawyer is shocked to learn that Jamie owns the bookstore and because he’s part of the development firm, he’s been pretty much tasked with ripping the place apart. Fortunately for him, Sawyer gets a call which extracts him from the awkward conversation.
His luck quickly runs out as he is dropped into the subsequent awkward situation of having to explain to Jamie why he’s at the town hall. Just as he’s about to come clean, his boss interrupts and spills the beans for him. Once she does this, she abruptly leaves. She’s either wildly rude or just incredibly socially inept.
Back a True Love, Jamie moans to Lucy about Sawyer’s deception. Lucy asks about their history. Apparently, they flirted in 8th grade, became official in 10th, and broke up because Sawyer wanted to go to an out-of-state college. They both look about 40 so they should really be over it. But as is the case with all Hallmark films, they won’t be.
Rick and Sawyer go shopping and talk girls. The important part of this conversation is that Sawyer finds out Jamie is single because she broke up with her dentist boyfriend.
Meanwhile at the bookstore, Jamie rants about the developers. While shouting, she knocks something over and finds a mysterious book…
Inside is a collection of Valentine’s cards. Jamie decides this is the way that she’ll fight back against the developers: with cards from the 1960s.
Jamie and Lucy head to Rick’s cooking event. Jamie uses this opportunity to berate Sawyer. It’s poor form. She basically shouts at him. These people are trying to enjoy a Valentine’s cooking class and they have to listen to some crazy white lady.
The next morning, Jamie talks to her aunt about saving the local businesses from oblivion. She even got an article printed about the Story of Us book. The aunt doesn’t care all that much and just wants to talk about boys. She thinks the councilman likes Jamie and Sawyer might too.
However, that one article causes some serious hubbub. People are visiting True Love in droves and Sawyer is getting heat from his boss. Sawyer decides to “embrace the community” by opening a tiny coffee cart and giving coffee away, all while telling the locals how much a Waterford man he is. Jamie ruins his plan by yelling.
In spite of the yelling, Jamie and Sawyer try to get along. They even take a stroll around the town and reminisce about their ancient relationship.
Things are going ok between the couple, but Jamie still isn’t over the developer thing. Things have gotten worse for her as well. The developers are offering the businesses even more money for selling their shops. Most of the business owners are into it, but Jamie gives a rousing speech against succumbing to the villains from an 80s film.
I’m not sure why, but Jamie skips out on work to take Sawyer on a romantic bike ride, eat lunch with him, look at koi fish, and eat dinner.
At dinner, she gives Sawyer the Story of Us letters. He understands how special the shop is now. Again, not sure why she did all the other romantic stuff when she could’ve just given him the letters and a powerful speech.
The next day, Jamie and Sawyer go on another walk and talk relationships. Sawyer is single. They reach Jamie’s house and as they’re about to kiss, a man interrupts them. That man is the dentist boyfriend that Jamie broke up with. Sawyer scuttles away as the dentist enters the house instead.
He confesses that he misses Jamie and asks her to move to Texas. As an audience, I think we’re meant to believe that Jamie is torn by this, but nothing in this film has communicated that she cares about the dentist.
It’s the day of some random festival called Fire and Ice. Jamie and Lucy hand print outs of old wartime love letters that belonged to the original owners of True Love. That seems like a total invasion of privacy. They’re dead but still. The festival goers are delighted because they’re all gossips or something.
After seeing their friends hook up, Sawyer and Jamie are totally jazzed enough to agree to a dinner on Valentine’s Day. They’ve been on what feels like 17 dates already, so I don’t know what the big deal is. After Sawyer leaves, the dentist appears, and Jamie summarily rejects him. That storyline is done.
The next day, Sawyer’s boss swans into True Love. She’s there to intimidate Jamie by telling her that foot traffic won’t keep up, and the town council is pretty much on board. The evil developer offers Jamie a buttload of cash.
After the boss leaves, Sawyer arrives. Jamie starts snapping at him for being part of the evil development group and breaking up with her 20 years ago. He tries to defuse the situation by saying he likes her, but Jamie is not buying it. She rejects him and his Valentine’s dinner.
Sawyer walks away with his tail between his legs. But after taking a break to read one of the love letters, he comes up with a plan. He confronts his boss to tell her that he can redesign Waterford in a way that makes eeeeeeeeeeeeeveryone happy.
At the Waterford town hall, Sawyer and his boss announce that they’re withdrawing the proposal and submitting a new one. Sawyer takes the mic and presents his idea: building apartments on top of the current shops. Aren’t there building codes? I suspect these shops aren’t ready-made for building apartment blocks above them.
Well, building codes be damned. Jamie takes the mic and puts her full support behind the idea. She doesn’t even consult the small business mafia! She essentially bullied them into rejecting the developers earlier! Aaugh!
Boss lady is happy with Sawyer and offers him the permanent position. Sawyer says he must turn down the role as he wants to stay in Waterford. Boss lady counters with, “Sure, ok. Stay here and work for us anyway.” Sawyer has a proper job now.
Sawyer wants to tell Jamie that he’s staying in Waterford, but she’s already left the town hall meeting. Rick and company give Sawyer a card with a key to True Love (the café/bookshop). As he walks in, he’s greeted by many tea light candles which lead to the garden. Jamie comes up from behind and tells him that she’s writing a romance book, loosely based on them. They kiss. FIN
The two leads are decent actors. I could actually believe them in some senses, but the story itself was no good. Jamie was too intense at times which made her very off putting. Sawyer was a bit of a blank slate. I honestly think the actors did their best and filled the characters with something a teeny bit more, but there’s only so much you can do. There were also a lot of dropped storylines and red herrings. The dentist was an unnecessary addition and that plotline didn’t even get a proper “love triangle” treatment. Just go buy a Story of Us book for your love letters, ok? It’s what Hallmark wants.
Up next is Love, Romance and Chocolate starring Lacey Chabert! And after that I’ll return to Netflix Garage where I’ll be covering a film that I’m really excited about. Stay tuned for that mess.
- This is seriously Hallmark bingo: quaint town, big city, male protagonist is an architect, female protagonist is bookstore owner, the developers are threatening to destroy the town, white people named Sawyer.
- When Sawyer bumps into Jamie, the first words out of his mouth are lines from Romeo and Juliet. I audibly stated, “Oh, Jesus Christ.”
- Some of the cards in the Story of Us book date back to “the middle of last century.” When’s that?
- About Sam Page, the Sawyer actor:
Sam Page attended Princeton University where he earned a BA in ecology and evolutionary biology. For his senior thesis, Page wrote about the mating habits of a female mosquitofish; the work was published in a science journal. After graduation, Page went on to become a series regular on CBS’s “Shark”.
Talk about a whiplash bio.
- World War II love letters are like aphrodisiacs in romantic films. War time love is the only true love.
- I kind of miss the snow in these films. February has a lot more rain.
- Once again, there was no point to that dentist.