English literature teacher Maggie Webber accidentally sees her husband, lawyer Tom Webber, kiss Brigitte. When she confronts him, he says to love another, after 25 years of happy marriage, with a daughter in college, Diane. After Maggie learns from a friend Tom's numerous adventures were widely known, she returns for the summer holiday to Little Bear Lake, where she had her best summer at 18, and met, working as dance hall waitress, her first love, Patrick Fleming, a handsome romantic whom she left to return to her sick, widowed father. After learning Patrick married the next year and died years ago, Maggie decides to take sabbatical year and a bank loan to buy and reopen the Lake's old dance hall, The Harvest Moon, to great local acclaim. At the mooring dock, which Patrick built in their days, she meets his handsome young adult son, John Keats Fleming (middle name after her favorite poet), who is engaged to Amy and a woodcarver, so he works as foreman at the Moon's restoration. At ... Written by
Jacqui Bisset even at 58 still projects a vixen quality that belies her obvious maturity, here she has the opportunity to showcase her age as her asset and integral to the storyline, but ultimately, the plot is thin, the characters and situations clichéd and un-involving. She plays a woman scorned by philandering husband (Mancuso) and elects to take a trip back through memory lane to a place in which she worked briefly some thirty years earlier, and where she had a brief but torrid liaison with a man named Patrick. Patrick has since both married and died, but his son (Mabius) is a tangible reminder of her brief encounter with Patrick (but not her progeny - it's not that kind of movie) and serves to vicariously rekindle the flame she shared with his late father.
It's a little disconcerting watching the two engage in the lovey-dovey dialogue and passionate embraces, the kisses looking anything but intimate. There's this whole 'Danielle Steele' quality to the movie that holds it back from the mature, poignant tale it aims to be, although Bisset at least gives an apparently sincere performance in a complex characterisation that exhibits conflicted emotions and motivations. Despite the fact her character is criticised, ostracised and made to feel 'trashy' by townsfolk concerned for Mabius' character's welfare, Bisset never becomes a tragic figure, retaining dignity even despite the lame dialogue and clichéd situations.
TV movie of mediocre quality, elevated marginally by the star presence of Bisset ought to appeal to those looking for the TV cousin (and predecessor) of "Under the Tuscan Sun", or just those who remain enamoured by the evergreen Bisset.
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