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Review: Is Hallmark's "For Love & Honey" Worth Watching? Get the "Buzz" on the Movie!

Some call Hallmark's For Love & Honey a "sleeper" that even Andrew Walker couldn't save while others marvel at the delightful plot and gorgeous backdrop. Is the movie worth watching? Romcom Review weighs in "bee-low!"

For Love & Honey Boasts a Unique Plot

Andrew Walker plays Austen Morgan, a visiting archaeology professor at a Maltese university. Austen has a limited window of time to make a discovery that will lead to increased funding and secure his tenure. His goal is lofty, but his motto is, "go big or go home." He's banking on finding a box that is depicted in a 17th century Jesuit priest's diary that contains a "golden way" that leads to never-ending prosperity. The priest had stopped in Malta on his way to Michigan, but Austen must connect the dots and produce something tangible.

When Ava, a beekeeper at the local apiary, is called upon to remove a wild beehive from a wall near the library, she scrapes the surface and discovers an ancient fresco. Even more fascinating, an infrared camera exposes a hidden symbol: three Greek nymphs called "Bee Maidens" that were said to have the gifts of prophecy. Austen knows the painting is the key to his discovery, and Ava begrudgingly agrees to help him with his research. They visit every site pictured on the painting but come no closer to cracking the mystery, until a local mentions "Old Honey Road" and the significance it plays in Malta's history surrounding the harvest blessing.

As Austen and Ava unravel the mystery, they discover something even sweeter than honey--love!

Review: Hallmark's For Love & Honey Is Multi-Faceted

For those of us who are weary of the same worn Hallmark plots, For Love & Honey is a welcome change. There are multiple layers to keep the audience hooked:

  • Educational components that share fun facts about history and beekeeping

  • Mystery

  • Humor

  • Gorgeous scenery and architecture

  • Realistic characters

Most of us aren't well-versed in Maltese history, so it's nice to be entertained AND learn something. The number of empires and rulers over this island country have been numerous! The movie mentions the Greeks, Roman occupation, the Knights, and pirate activity, just to name a few! (FYI--Malta is now an official republic and is part of the European Union.)

Viewers also learn that honey rarely spoils (due to its natural preservatives and antimicrobial properties) and that the oldest honey ever found was over 5,000 years old. Don't "bee-lieve" it? It's true! I looked it up. Prior to the 2012 discovery, the oldest known honey had been found in King Tut's tomb and was 3,000 years old. During pipeline construction in the country of Georgia, west of Tblisi, ceramic vessels of honey were found in a noblewoman's tomb that contained several types of honey, including varieties made with meadow flower, berry, and linden flowers. The honey was estimated to be 5,500 years old!

Instead of the usual fluff you'd expect in a romcom, For Love & Honey includes a captivating mystery. What is the significance of the fresco? What is the "golden way" that leads to never-ending prosperity? How are the Bee Maidens an important link? (No spoilers here!)

Austen adds comedy to the movie with well-timed quips. From ribbing Eva about her driving and not maintaining the oil in her vehicle to intentionally greeting locals with a Maltese phrase that translates, "I smell like fish," he lightens the mood.

The architecture of Malta covers multiple centuries and influences, and the landscapes are gorgeous, coagulating in the perfect backdrop for a Hallmark movie!

The characters are realistic. As our favorite actors like Andrew Walker age, it's no longer believable for them to be discovering first love. It makes sense that Austen and Ava are divorced and at a good space in their lives where they are happy if they find love but content if they don't. Austen is fulfilled by his career, and Ava aspires to fill her mother's shoes at the apiary.

The relationship between Ava and her sister, Chloe, is also sweet. Ava tries to run the family business just like her mother, but Chloe is bubbling over with ideas to expand and modernize to reach new customers and venues. The two form a solid partnership where their individual strengths bring balance.

For Love & Honey is well-researched, insightful, unique, well-written and offers an enjoyable escape to beautiful Malta!

For Love & Honey Has Some Problems

Despite the fresh plot and intriguing location, For Love & Honey isn't Hallmark's best, and critics of the movie offer justifiable feedback.

Hallmark fans will turn a blind eye to some issues, like how a huge pile of rocks that is integral to the plot has remained undisturbed for centuries, that a piece of ancient pottery happens to casually be laying above ground, or how the box that the Jesuit priest supposedly took to the New World is still in Malta. What they won't overlook, however, is the total absence of chemistry.

Andrew Walker can typically generate sizzle with any co-star, but his powers are completely lost on Margaret Clunie. Though Clunie brings a regal air to her role and does a fine acting job, romance is dead, and that is a deal-breaker in a romcom. Clunie is a poor casting choice.

Speaking of Clunie, who planned the wardrobe for this movie? The hot topic on social media is the ghastly pants Clunie wears in the movie that look like three people could fit into them. She sports at least three different pairs in various scenes, all equally hideous and distracting.

Viewers who tuned out by the first commercial break say the movie didn't capture their interest. They grew bored or got lost in the sometimes-convoluted archeological explanations of the clues. I disagree with this analysis. My curiosity was piqued early by the mystery, and I liked the historical information overload--it's a movie that engages your brain, and you have to pay close attention to process the details. Writers do not gloss over history but take the time to incorporate fascinating facts, and I appreciate the out-of-the-box creativity.

Some argue that archeology and beekeeping are too unrelated to be entwined in a movie plot, but mixing the two is what makes the movie inventive and original. If "honey-one" can do it, it's Hallmark!

As much as I love the imaginative story, without romance, a Hallmark movie dies, so For Love & Honey isn't likely to make Hallmark's fan-favorite list. If you haven't watched it, at least give it a try. It's worth watching once.

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