“Christmas should be magical, no matter what.”
Sharon is back in her hometown and staying at her grandmother’s house for the first time since she passed away. Sharon’s grandmother has compiled a list of 12 Christmas traditions that she wants Sharon to complete before Christmas to help her decide whether to sell the house.
However, Sharon learns that something important is missing: her two turtle doves ornament. So Sam, the next door neighbor, and his daughter, Mikayla, help Sharon try to find the missing ornament in the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries movie, “Two Turtle Doves” (2019).
Our Review: Two Turtle Doves
This movie is full of feels. One of the main themes is how to deal with grief at the holidays.
As we begin, Sharon is trying to rewire her brain by focusing on the positive rather than the sad (which proves much harder than she thought). Meanwhile, Sam is detached and also faking joy, in an effort to make Christmas magical for his daughter (but this ultimately fails because Mikayla feels like he’s not sad about the loss of his wife and Mikayla’s mom, Jenny)
The characters ultimately go through a process of learning how to treasure their pasts while making new traditions and memories – and being open to new possibilities. This includes a romance slowly developing between Sharon and Sam.
When they meet, it’s not instant love leading to “let’s spend every Christmas together,” which is a nice change of pace. Their relationship grows organically, with perfect and natural pacing – all leading to a mostly satisfying ending that is satisfying without being cliched.
There’s also a lot going on in “Two Turtle Doves” as well – it’s more than just the beginnings of a love story.
The 12 traditions helps propel the story forward and gives the movie some needed structure, as does Sharon’s story involving the fellowship (would she get it, and the interview unexpectedly being pushed up), which leads to a natural, non-contrived conflict – Sam not wanting to move forward without a sign that Sharon doesn’t have one foot out the door.
We’ve also got the mystery of what happened to the missing ornament. Plus to mention the individual stories of Sharon, Sam, and Mikayla and how they all are dealing with grief in different ways.
The Nice List
Michael Rady & Nikki Deloach Are Great
Both Rady and Deloach were great. Both had great individual performances and also had good chemistry in their scenes together.
Now in terms of chemistry, you won’t find a “hot like fire” kind of chemistry – probably because they didn’t have a lot of romantic moments. It’s a slow build.
It isn’t until they have their almost kiss (and he says “I want you to know how hard it is to not kiss you right now”) that we just start to get a glimpse of that potential. And by their final two kisses at the end of the movie, we were feeling it.
Our Favorite Scene
Sharon setting up the reindeer and Santa was great. It had a good mix of humor (seeing her trying to lift the Santa) and character development after Sam arrived and they talked.
Plus they managed to close out the scene with a little bit of humor.
The Perfect Amount of Christmas Sights & Sounds
Every scene had Christmas, but it was never tacky or overdone. In every scene, there is just something gorgeous to look at.
Our favorite was the one scene where Sam and Sharon are talking and walking down the street. There are candy cane columns and beautiful lights everywhere. Every scene in “Two Turtle Doves” seemed to have the right amount of Christmas in it.
Same is true for the sounds. They never used the swooshy chimes to the point of parody or did anything gratitous. It all just seemed natural – the perfect amount of Christmas sounds.
When is the last time you heard the term “synaptic pruning” in a Hallmark movie? Oh right, never.
Big props for this movie having the lead actress be a neuroscientist.
At Sam, who had several funny lines. Including his response to Sharon, after she’s set up Santa and the reindeer and she jokes, “Now we just have to do Santa’s village”. His perfectly-delivered and timed response: “I’m sorry, what?”
- When Sharon listens to the message her grandmother left her.
- When Mikayla tells Sharon about the snowflake-shaped frosted sugar cookies her mom used to make at Christmas.
- When Mikayla talks about being sad with Sam and Sharon – and how she thought she was the only one who gets sad at Christmas. 😢 😢
It’s a Wonderful Christmas Movie Reference!
One of the items on Sharon’s list is a Christmas movie marathon (fuzzy socks mandatory!). Sharon, Sam, Mikayla and Alex, all get comfortable for the marathon
The first (and, as it turns out, only) movie they end up watching is “It’s a Wonderful Life”. Before it’s even over, Mikayla is asleep on Sharon, and Sharon has fallen asleep on Sam. A nice, sweet moment.
Christmas Opening Credits for the Books
The opening credits were really cool!
Rather than the usual opening credits we’ve seen a thousand times, the credits were written into a Christmasy looking book, with lots of Christmas pictures.
What a unique and cool way to open the movie.
The Naughty List
While there is a lot to like about the ending, we couldn’t quite love it.
Because they already revealed what happened to the turtle dove ornament. Sharon doesn’t get to hear the story because we already did, which seems like a miscalculation by the writers.
It could have been more impactful to not brush over this key part of the story, and instead reveal it all to her here.
Imagine how much of a bigger emotional bang the ending could have been if they hadn’t actually revealed to us what was in the wooden box until the last scene. And then, Sharon again could have remind us about that family legend that the two turtle doves make people fall in love.
Oh well. What could have been.
Plus, the whole part where Sharon says she’s staying for a year took a little bit of the “magic” out of the ending. It felt weird. She could have just said she was staying, without mentioning the timeline.
Two Turtle Doves 2?
Sharon tells Sam she’s going to stay in town for the next year. Why a year?
Could this be setting up a sequel? If it’s nearly as good as this one, we won’t mind.)
Mikayla mentioned that her mom used to make snowflake-shaped frosted sugar cookies.
They were making cookies in this movie! Why didn’t they try to make Mikayla’s favorite cookies to make her happy?
Your Fake Snow Is Blowing
In the scene where Sam and Sharon are walking down the street, keep an eye on then “snow” in background.
At a couple of points, you’ll see the fake snow blowing up off the street, ever so briefly, presumably due to some wind.
Mmm. Smell the Mayo?
Also, what was up with Lucy sniffing the CLOSED jar of mayo?!
Pretty sure all she could smell was jar.
The WORST List
Ice Skating Fail
When Sam and Sharon fell down ice skating, we were expecting them to have a moment.
Instead, they laughed. And we were disappointed.
No almost kiss. No nothing. He didn’t even brush a strand of hair off her face.
If You Liked “Two Turtle Doves” You Should Watch
Anything with Michael Rady in it!
Two Turtle Doves
Michael Rady and Nikki Deloach have saved Christmas! After three underwhelming movies, “Two Turtle Doves” felt like the first real Hallmark movie of 2019. While it isn’t perfect, it’s pretty wonderful and is the first must-watch offering from Hallmark this season.