It’s a Sunday night after a busy weekend, and I’m indulging in my favorite wind-down activity, where my kids are in a different room, and I’m here with my computer. It’s The Sweetest Heart, which has something to do with baking. I am all about the cupcake, so hopefully this will be good!
We open on 2 young people who are right before college, planning their future, and are so earnest and heartfelt. Boy gives girl a promise ring. I doubt that it’s a Hallmark original, but who knows. I might have to fire up the googler and find out.
Maddie is the girl, and she made him cupcakes that he ate without taking off the wrapper, so basically he got a mouthful of icing. Not going to critique that – the icing looked awesome.
It’s now 14 years later, and it’s typical small town. Maddie stayed, and she’s still baking, and running off all the calories, and bringing cupcakes to her Sassy Friend. She needs money to expand her little cafe, and Sassy Friend Emma is also promoting meetings with handsome single men – because Girl, You Gotta Get Out More. Her new cupcake is “Sugar Cookie Cake” with brown butter, rosemary, and pine nut frosting. I don’t know why that should be good. Doesn’t sound good. Her cafe is at the breaking point – literally almost everything is breaking, but Maddie is focusing on the positive, instilling optimism to her hapless bakery helper.
Oh my goodness the bank handsome guy is LONGJAW from all those other movie! Yay for LongJaw! He’s going to “run some numbers” and see if he can find some investors for her bakery.
Maddie’s engaged best friend (the girl who played Jane Bennett in the Pride and Prejudice with dogs), is also encouraging her to date more. She says that she should stop comparing every guy to Nate (assuming Nate is the boy from the promise ring) and they both order burgers at the upscale bistro.
Nate apparently is a cardiac surgeon – awkward promise ring kid got handsome and bearded – and he’s back in the small home town of Indian Lake to be fabulous and doctory and he’s not spoken to Maddie in like, forever, and didn’t tell her he’s moving back home so what is that about?
Maddie is in Chicago having a business meeting – clearly greenscreened in the windows – with a Marcia Gay Harden lookalike, who’s blown over by her maple french toast cupcakes and is willing to come look at her cafe. LongJaw is helping, wanting to take her out for dinner, and they mention “franchise” and I feel like that is going to come back into the story before the end, when she has to choose between LongJaw Alex and ExBoyFriend Nate.
Nate’s back at Maddie’s cafe! She can’t stop scrubbing down a table, and is awkward. Nate’s friend Charlie is super making eyes at Maddie’s assistant Chloe, who is awkward as well. That’ll go somewhere. Apparently they dated for three years long distance after the opening scene, and he got overwhelmed and cold feet and she broke up with him and she’s bitter and he’s sorry, and he just ordered 4 dozen cupcakes because he has the money to do it, and it smacks of self-satisfied charity and I don’t like Nate right now. And because of all her upset feelings, she calls LongJaw back after saying no to his ‘come to an art opening Friday night’ date and now is all dressed up in a red tank dress and is talking to Sassy Friend, who says it’s ok to feel uneasy that Nate is back and town. Thank you for the Wisdom, Oh Sassy Friend.
Aerial shot of Chicago at night. I love Chicago. They are looking at abstract art. I don’t get abstract art. Is this the type of date that fancy people go on – art openings, etc? They are always in movies, and it looks a dead bore to me. LongJaw is coming on strong, giving her some kind of tacky glass tulip or something. Maddie’s not that impressed. But now we have a plot.
Nate is still being male benevolent – which is kind of icky, quite honestly, and he ordered 6 dozen cupcakes, but only on the understanding that Maddie deliver them. Nate is giving a lecture about being a successful heart surgeon, and it’s all about being human, compassionate, etc. Which goes against everything on every medical TV show ever, where the surgeons are robots. Eric LaSalle on ER? That other guy who got fired on Grey’s Anatomy? Whatever’s going on on Chicago Med? Hallmark is definitely out to change the medical field, one movie at a time. He gives her a plug at the end of his lecture, and he’s feeling so satisfied with himself. And he just offered to help her with her nonexistent website, and to help her budget out her money, etc. But Maddie smartly says no, but somehow it ends up that he’s going to help her anyway? Did I miss something?
Before he picks her up, she has to rummage through her secret box of treasures to find that promise ring again. For what reason? It will soon become clear. And they go to a restaurant, where he orders pizza with french fries on it. Ew. LongJaw calls during the dinner discussion, and Nate is thrown off his game. At the end of the date, Maddie is CLEARLY carrying a purse with nothing in it. She’s carrying it in such a way that you know. That’s annoying. Seriously prop people, it’s not hard to shove a few things in a purse.
Again because Maddie has conflicting feelings about Nate, she accepts another date with LongJaw. Poor LongJaw.
Nate has a confidant in Charlie, who is not a Sassy Friend, but still manages to convey Sassy Friendness, when he says that there’s something there with Maddie.
At the second date with LongJaw, at his work function, they talk about deals, and everything and it’s the wrong place for Maddie who doesn’t think like that. He tells her to fake it till she makes it, and that shows that LongJaw doesn’t know her at all.
Next stop, community hall fundraiser, where a few things are established. Charlie and Chloe went to high school together and she had a massive crush on him but he didn’t know she existed but now he’s scoping her out from across the room. Nate is also doing that to Maddie, but it’s WAY more obvious and all of Maddie’s friends see it.
This woman has money troubles, and a house, and is spending her time in a different cafe to do her research. Does she not have wifi at home? That’s the only thing I can think of as to why she would waste money on coconut cream pie and coffee when she freaking bakes for a living. Pensive music plays while she wonders about things, and Nate works on her website and all of a sudden, it’s Monday morning, time for the meeting with the investor.
Maddie’s oven burnt the cupcakes, and now she has to call Nate for help! Of Course he’ll be there on the double to assist, and since they’ve talked twice about how great the remodeled kitchen is at the hospital, I think they’ll go there to bake their hearts out. She’s baking in a fuschia sweater and pearls, but her white apron is super pristine. Cue montage of eggs cracking and why are they scrambling so many eggs, as most batters start with the butter and the sugar creaming together, and then you add the eggs. I don’t think the screenwriter or the director actually knows how to bake.
I do have piping bag envy during the icing section of this montage. My piping bags always burst and I get icing all over my hands. But all this icing and batter lets Nate apologize to Maddie for being a busy guy and breaking her heart. They are friends again. Her cupcake cafe has a lot of cupcakes not in a case but on the counter, and I don’t feel that’s conducive to good cupcake eating. The icing will get hard. Sure they look pretty, but again, the production team has never worked in a bakery. Side note, I worked in a bakery. A real one. With string for the boxes. It’s not a real bakery if they tape the box.
They realize that the cafe will look empty on Monday morning at 9 am because no one buys cupcakes at 9 am, so off Nate is to save the day with a mad dash to recruit people to mill around in the background of the next scene. But oh, LongJaw shows up and Nate is not great with the fact that LongJaw is rubbing her arm creepily. And he’s not impressed by the fact that she just said that she’s not really interested in franchising. Because if she can’t even figure out how to put together a website, she’s definitely not going to figure out how to do a franchise cupcake cafe.
LongJaw sends a car for her to have a nice dinner in the city, and then he does the grossest man thing and orders for her – oysters and tuna tartare. She’d be happy with pizza and a Diet Coke, so this is not going to end well. He just toasted “to us” and she looks like she wants to throw up.
Testify Sassy Friend! She just told Maddie that she never fell out of love with Nate, so she’s still in love with him, which sends her on another run and another look through her secret treasure box to look at the promise ring. Weird.
Maddie gets the loan from the investor!!! Apparently it was the website that did it. So she’s gotta go thank Nate. And another scene where nothing is in her purse when she goes to the hospital in search of him. It’s another variation on the previous theme about being a human being before being a doctor. To celebrate, they go on a hike. Yeah, not my idea of a celebration, but you do you, Maddie.
I think all the scenes filmed at the lake were all done on the same day – it’s the same misty, overcast, and cold-looking. She baked him a chocolate velvet cupcake – it’s his favorite and she stopped baking them because they broke up but the love is still there, man, and what are they going to do? He’s offering to stay in Indian Lake, and smiles with her eyes, and sends her off to break up with LongJaw in front of another greenscreened window. Classy girl, not to break up with him on the phone, so points for her.
Nate now has a crossroads – a research fellowship that starts the next Monday, or giving up his research dream and staying in Indian Lake. We don’t know what he chooses, but he shows up at her house with flowers, and takes her out for hot dogs at some kind of quaint market. They meet up with her other friend, with the fiance with the week chin and the kind of cold feet, but they resolve their issues pretty quickly. And then Charlie and Chloe meet up at the market too – he figures out they went to high school together, but she is pissed he can’t remember more than that.
Nate surprises Maddie with a nice cheese plate, and has to tell her about the research opportunity. He still doesn’t know what he wants to do, and Maddie takes it super personal, and says “the minute I let you in again, you look for a way to leave.” Way to make it super dramatic. They love each other, but his work calls him to Boston. His soulful eyes say oh damn. And they both have the sad times – but he gets to at least drink two glasses of wine to drown them out.
Right before he leaves for Boston, he gets an envelope Maddie left for him – it’s the promise ring. That is a LOW BLOW, Maddie.
Three weeks later, her construction is all done and everything is finished, so that’s movie magic, right there. And Nate has a revelation after seeing an old couple walk out of the Boston hospital – he wants someone to grow old with, damn it!
Grand re-opeing of Cupcakes and Coffee Cafe – it’s very pink and green, with brown walls. It’s not attractive. Charlie and Chloe have a moment, and he asks her out and aren’t they cute. And then bam! Nate is back in town. LongJaw looks really annoyed but he gets no say because she dumped him. She can’t do it again, but he’s back for good, and he gives her back the promise ring. And yay! All her friends can stop worrying about her – she’s got a man in her life that she can close-mouth kiss forever.
From the crowds in this town, you would think that no one had ever been to a cupcake cafe before. And The End.
This one was also based on a book, from Harlequin. I have done an extensive amount of research on Harlequin. The green of the spine on this book means that no one has sex, and it’s very heartfelt – perfect for Hallmark movies. Red spines mean that mostly the heroine is pregnant, and there’s a alpha male who has to learn to love, but not before they do a lot of shopping sprees. The pink spines have “fade to black” sex – where it’s not described, but the characters do do it. There are also ones dedicated to just doctors, and don’t get me started on the cowboy ones. Anyway, just thought you should know.
So there’s The Sweetest Heart. Lots of cupcake close-ups. And Maddie actress has that trembly lip thing going when she’s upset, so good for her. This one was also interrupted by both my kids, who treated me with their predictions for the story, but since they came in late, they were both wrong. I’m glad to get this one off my DVR – but if necessary, I’ll re-watch, you know, just so you don’t have to.