Falling Inn Love

AS Gabriela grows closer to Jake, she still has a sense of independence and self-sufficiency about her.

Everyone knows the stereotypical Hallmark movie where two people meet in an impossibly serendipitous way followed by a cliche love story full of cheesy quotes and stock characters, always ending in a happily ever after.

There’s no denying that “Falling Inn Love” has these elements, but it differs by giving viewers the same lighthearted story while keeping them interested and a little bit on their toes. 

The movie opens as the lead character, Gabriela (Christina Milian), goes through the basic downward spiral as one does before making a spontaneous life-changing decision. She loses her San Francisco office job and materialistic boyfriend, Dean (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman), in the same week, then receives an advertisement for a “win-an-inn” contest. Conveniently, she’s an inn enthusiast. She wins an inn located in a rural New Zealand town, Beechwood Downs.

Upon arriving, she meets a too-good-to-be-true man, Jake (Adam Demos). An athletically built contractor, volunteer firefighter, little league baseball coach, down-to-earth, attractive, single guy is pretty unrealistic. What follows is a mix of many predictable and unpredictable moments, leaving audiences more cheerful than before. 

When the film begins, almost everything that happens is foreseeable, but as the plotline progresses, characters begin to develop emotional and internal struggles, making the storyline a bit messier and more realistic. Gabriela has to choose between two relationships, while Jake has trouble with opening up for the first time after the death of his long-term girlfriend. There are creative additions to the main narrative, like a past romance told by vintage love letters found in the inn, a pet goat named Gilbert, an adorable couple who owns the local cafe and the budding romance between Gabriela’s new friend and the town doctor. 

Gabriela, unlike previous romance leads, is independent. Instead of being “rescued” by Jake, they become partners working on the inn’s renovation project. It’s refreshing to see a woman who’s strong and self-sufficient while also being a part of a relationship-focused storyline.

The soundtrack features songs with run-of-the-mill lyrics that wouldn’t make it on most people’s playlists. However, it fits with the film, flowing nicely and giving a sense of how the characters are feeling at particular moments. The scenes include shots of New Zealand’s beaches and lands, like the story’s love interests driving through the rural countryside roads and running into the ocean, which add to the production’s aesthetics. The rest of the scenes are filmed in local shops and the inn to provide a small-town feel. There’s a fun use of on-screen text bubbles when Gabriela is messaging her love interests, but it only happens a few times, making it inconsistent. Overall, the visual and audio production is satisfactory and fits the film, but it isn’t special.

While “Falling Inn Love” won’t be Emmy nominated, it accomplishes its purpose. Cheesy, romantic comedies are meant to be cute and leave the audience feeling uplifted. With its focus on a loving, small-town community, it reminds its viewers of the goodness in everyone while also showing that everything happens for a reason and that risks pay off.

Contact Sarah Connor at connorse@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture