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I had not planned on watching the movie because I work early in the
morning. The show was so good I stayed up till 11:00pm. I wished I had
taped it for my husband, who had been unable to watch. It was a
wonderful show and I hope they make it available on DVD so I can watch
it again and again.
The fact that the show was spell binding and contained mystery as well as suspense without sex, violence, smoking, drinking or bad language follows along with the quality of shows presented by Hallmark and proves they are not necessary to make a show worth watching.
Jodelle Ferland proved to be a very convincing actress. Sissy Spacek was as usual absolutely wonderful. I love all of her movies. I do not want to say anything that would give the show away, but it warmed the heart and made you feel that good things do happen.
At the start of this fact-based movie, Hollis tells where she got her
name as we look at her beautiful art work. As a baby, she was abandoned
at Hollis and Woods in Queens. A note attached to her said to call her
Hollis has spent time in a number of foster homes, and apparently she has never been happy in any of them. Edna, a social worker, is driving her to her latest home, with quirky and scatterbrained artist Josie Cahill in a small town with a lighthouse.
In flashbacks, we learn that Hollis was actually happy with the Regans. She spent the summer in a cabin with no TV or phone, but with lots of love and beautiful scenery to draw. She developed a brotherly relationship with the slightly mischievous Steven. And Steven's father gave her his old drawing set, something Hollis really appreciated because she's such a talented artist. But we later learn why she left such an ideal situation.
Hollis may have found yet another loving guardian, and she lies to make sure she will spend as much time with Josie as possible. Her lies may end up having the opposite result, but because of a situation beyond her control, Hollis may not get to stay anyway.
Josie's cousin Beatrice, also an artist, runs the movie theater. She's almost as weird as Josie, and it turns out Josie and Hollis have something in common, which is why Josie and Beatrice are so close.
There are a couple of near-tragedies toward the end, but don't worry. Things will turn out all right. It's a film the whole family can watch, provided the kids are willing to be a little scared.
All the leading actors do a good job. Sissy Spacek stands out from the rest just because she's so delightfully quirky, but also because she has a real challenge. Alfre Woodard has one really good scene that stands out from the rest of her fine performance. And of course Jodelle Ferland is good in the leading role.
Henry the Cat (Josie's best friend) doesn't do much, but he's cute and quite pretty to look at. He doesn't look like he likes Hollis, but later she gets to hold him.
I didn't see the name of the artist who drew Hollis' pictures, but this person is really talented. Josie's sculptures were also quite good.
It's a production worthy of the Hallmark Hall of Fame.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have been watching Hallmark Hall of Fame productions for a long time
- the first one I remember was George C Scott and Colleen Dewhurst in
Arthur Miller's The Price from 1971. Never having read the book
Pictures of Holliss Woods is based on but knowing how these productions
usually end, I fully expected to withstand the pulls on my emotions.
But like always with Hallmark, I failed.
Jodelle Ferland plays Hollis Woods, so named for the intersection of streets where she was abandoned as a baby. Growing up in the foster system and being shuttled from family to family, she has built an emotional wall with no gates to deal with the inevitable rejection she knows is coming down the road.
Hollis gets placed with an old eccentric artist and sculptor after her last placement with the Regans had failed. The story of that failure is told in intermittent flashbacks of spending the summer at a remote cabin the Regan's go to every summer with their teenage son Steven.
Josie (Sissy Spacek) plays the eccentric Hollis is placed with after the Regans. From the beginning it's obvious Josie has memory lapses and the specter of Alzheimer's disease will be a part of the plot. Long before anyone should have to, Holliss is going to have to make decisions about her future and the care of Josie.
James Tupper and Julie Ann Emery do a great job of playing the Regan's. You get the feeling they are real parents that are just what Holliss needs and not the cartoon caricatures most movie married couples are portrayed as. Ridge Canipe as their son Steven is not so convincing - I always got the feeling he was acting like a teenager instead of being one.
Alfre Woodard does a good job as Holliss' social worker. You wonder why she got into the business sometimes but it's a tricky line between being too nice and too harsh that any successful social worker has to tread.
There are a few plot holes - you never get an understanding why Holliss has had trouble getting a permanent home. Usually infants are the easiest children to place in adoptions. And the incident that caused Holliss to leave the Regans was seen coming a mile away. But by the end, knowing it's just a story and they are just acting, don't be surprised to have a tear or two along with a smile because that's what Hallmark is great at.
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