Date of airing: May 18, 2019 (Hallmark Channel)
Nielsen ratings information: 2.119 million viewers, 0.19 rating with Adults 18-49, 0.10 rating with Adults 18-34, 0.30 rating with Adults 25-54, 1.59 rating with Adults 50+
Well, this surely wasn’t a fictional and romantic low-budget version of the documentary MAIDENTRIP, which I got the urge to rewatch as soon as I finish writing this wall of text. Not that I was expecting a Hallmark romance with a couple on a sail boat, traveling from coast to coast and slowly falling in love this way, but now that I have watched SAILING INTO LOVE, I wondered what it would take to watch a television movie that is essentially the premise of what Pacey and Joey were doing during the summer they were on a boat, between seasons three and four of DAWSON’S CREEK. What would a film look like that is a mixture of this Hallmark production and MAIDENTRIP? How beautiful would such a film look like, since it would have to visit multiple exotic locations no one has even heard of? And could it be considered a romantic adventure, essentially helping the genre back on its feet after it got neglected during the 1990s?
SAILING INTO LOVE is one of the finer offerings of the white cable network. While the characters were as cookie-cutter as in any of their films, there was at least the sense of conflict between Claire and Jason that made it worthwhile going through these 83 minutes and see where the story might be heading, even if the outcome of all the conflicts between characters is always known. The central characters win in whatever fight they decided to get into, and they will kiss by the end of the film. There was nothing different in SAILING INTO LOVE, but the notion of Jason and Claire going at it about an island gave the film an extra layer of story that helped immensely. At the end of the day this wasn’t just a film about how Tom and Claire met, fell in love and got together, but it was a film about preservation and keeping nature alive. It was a film about criticism of capitalism and ownership, and in a way it was also an attack against urban development in the countryside, even if that part of the film’s premise never came over as such and was only portrayed via Jason and Claire’s conflict, which by itself was only filled with the fact that they were dating once, and both hearts were broken after the end of that relationship. But hey, a Hallmark romance novel with two separate premises? Yeah, it’s automatically a winner, because it’s so unlike a Hallmark film.
At the end of the day, there is nothing spectacular about SAILING INTO LOVE. The film could have maybe used a few more scenes on the open sea, making use of the first word in its title, and this film also being about three weddings, coincidentally scheduled on consecutive weekends, it could also have previewed the Hallmark Channel’s June wedding films by focusing at least just a little bit on the three couples that were being married throughout these 83 episodes. The scenes with Claire and her father could have been sacrificed to do just that, because a) Andrew Airlie was pretty much useless as a father figure here, and b) Hallmark Channel films are also allowed to have one of their central characters lose both parents, and not always just one, which is apparently one of the rules always being ticked off when the network reviews the scripts for their upcoming films. I was however glad that one or two scenes with Claire being the biology professor teaching her summer class something about nature and wildlife were included in this film, although it is nothing new for a Hallmark production to showcase their female central character in the job they are performing — it’s after all one of the rules of Hallmark Channel films.
Best part of the film: The scenery was pretty. British Columbia looks nice like that for most of the year, so I’m glad the Hallmark Channel made it an active part of the film, as if the landscape was its own character here.
Worst part of the film: Way to make your best friend suffer by having her plan three weddings, while all of you people were talking about her being the fourth best friend married off at the same time. It’s kind of like putting Claire through emotional torture, because she managed to get rid of her future husband, while the other girlfriends kept ahold of theirs. In fact, I’m surprised Claire wasn’t going through some major depression during this movie, having to plan the events she hoped she would be in the center of as well.
Weirdest part of the film: Apparently it takes part of the town to show up to a townhall meeting to convince the town council not to sell Blue Island to a random LLC. In real life, this would never happen, and the council would still be selling off that land, because money always talks the language people in power understand. Besides that, how many people did show up to Claire’s speech at the end? Must not have been more than two dozen, because there simply wasn’t any room for more people.
Non-white players of the film: Jennifer Li portrayed Wendy, one of Claire’s students, and for a few seconds she had a conversation with her professor. Robbe Hardnette played the minister during the third wedding, which means his officiating words were heard for a few seconds. This brings the count of non-white actors with speaking roles in this Hallmark production to 2. A few non-white faces were seen during the weddings, but those were still 98 percent white. The brides and grooms of those weddings should maybe think about getting a few new friends who don’t look exactly like them. By the way, after two Hallmark films watched for this blog, the count of non-white players with speaking roles has risen to three.