In the lead up to Valentine’s Day, the Hallmark Channel has released its second Hallmark Hall of Fame movie since the franchise moved to the channel in December. The network’s latest offering is about love, loss and … swans.
When a family of swans make their home on the Peterson family’s farm, it’s love at first sight for 10-year-old daughter Frankie. But when one of the swans perishes, leaving behind a nest filled with eggs, possessive and protective ornithologist Ginny rushes in to save them. “She may be great working with birds, but she’s terribly insensitive when it comes to working with people,” explains Minka Kelly, who plays Ginny. “To put it mildly, she is not a people person.”
For Frankie’s dad Jack (Jason Lee), it’s dislike at first sight when he encounters pushy, know-it-all Ginny, especially because his young daughter considers the eggs “hers.” Jason Lee reveals that his character is ambivalent about the eggs of the swan, but “After what Frankie has gone through – losing her mother – he’s afraid if something happens with the eggs, and she suffers another loss, it would be devastating for her.”
But the story is much more than a story of loss, says actress Minka Kelly. “It’s certainly one of the themes. Jack loses his wife, the kids lose their mother, the swan eggs — and, potentially, baby swans — lose their mother. But, as the title of the movie — Away & Back – more than hints at, there are also wonderful new beginnings in this story. It may start out with loss, but it ends up with the themes of hope and life. … and love.”
One of the things I enjoy about HHOF movies is that the films attract outstanding talent. Here, Jason Lee (My Name is Earl) and Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) star in a production that could easily have premiered at your local Cineplex. Fortunately, we don’t have to fight ice-storms and flu-germs at the local movie theater; the entire family can enjoy this heart-warming story the comfort of home. In addition to sweet performances from Kelly and Lee, young actress Maggie Elizabeth Jones is truly delightful as earnest swan-lover, Frankie; hers is a character to whom young movie watchers will easily relate. And the film’s several mention’s of E.B. White’s beloved classic, The Trumpet of the Swan, may introduce a new favorite book to your family.
Away & Back > Hallmark Channel > Sunday, Jan. 25 at 8pm ET/PT, 7pm CT.
Photo credits: Erik Heinila/Hallmark