Monday, December 3, 2007


If you only had minutes to live, what final message would you want to share with your loved ones?

That’s the question at the heart of the new Hallmark Channel film “The Note” premiering Saturday Dec. 8 at 9pm Eastern/8pm Central.

“General Hospital’s” Genie Francis stars as Peyton MacGruder, an advice columnist who fails to connect with her readers because her own heart is shut tight due to mistakes and pains from the past. Peyton’s problems, however, pale in comparison with what’s going on in the real world at the time – namely, a plane crash that kills everyone on-board. While jogging near the beach one day, Peyton discovers a note in a plastic bag that has washed ashore. After some investigating, she deduces that it’s a final message from a father on the doomed airliner who wrote it when the chance of a crash became real. Peyton sets out to find the person to whom the note was written. In the process, she faces the demons from her own past that have haunted her for years.

In her role as Peyton, Genie Francis conveys the pain of a person who needs to deal with guilt and tragedy, but who’s tried to suppress it instead. Her depth and maturity are no doubt shaped by the struggles she’s faced in her own life, from drug addiction to self-image & self-esteem problems. Like the talented actress she is, Genie taps into those feelings and delivers an outstanding performance that should touch anyone who’s ever found themselves in a similar situation.

The payoff in the film, of course, hinges on the content of the note. There’s quite a buildup so I wondered if the filmmakers would be able to deliver effectively. The substance needed to be more than a simple “I love you,” after all. I’m happy to report that “the note” does deliver on its promise. The words are few but they speak volumes that are especially appropriate for the Christmas season. It’s a message from beyond the grave that anyone would welcome, and that allows all the characters to move forward with confidence, courage, and humility.

“The Note” does suffer story-wise from some divine coincidences that usually only take place in the movies. But it’s overall effect is positive due to characters and situations that I came to care about.

Reminiscent of stories by Nicholas Sparks and Mitch Albom, “The Note” leaves viewers with a greater appreciation for their loved ones. It also encourages them to think about their lives and relationships in a way that can lead to new beginnings in this season when we celebrate the birth of the Christ-child and the promise He brings.

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