‘Away & Back’ Review: ‘Hallmark Hall of Fame’ Installment Respects Honored Franchise’s Legacy
As I mentioned in a previous column, Hallmark Hall of Fame is by far one of the most consistent programs running on TV today. Since it first debuted on NBC in 1951, it has long been associated with made-for-TV movies the entire family can watch together. The same thing could be said about The Wonderful World of Disney, which ended in 2008. Hall of Fame‘s most recent TV film – Away & Back (which stars Jason Lee and Minka Kelly) – continues that legacy, and proves people need this franchise, now the longest-running dramatic series in the history of television, more than ever.
The film focuses on a man named Jack Peterson (Lee), who had lost his then-37-year-old wife of cancer. He lives on the countryside with his three children, 15-year-old son Stretch (Connor Paton), his 13-year-old brother Kyle (Jerry Lewison, Barney & Friends), and the narrator of the film, 10-year old daughter Frankie (Maggie Elizabeth Jones, We Bought a Zoo). The family’s lives change forever when a mother trumpeter swan dies after hitting a power line near their house. After the three children disobey their father and get the swan eggs from their nest, Frankie hooks up with a wildlife biologist named Ginny (Kelly). When Jack and Ginny first meet, however, they prove they’re not real big fans of each other. However, as the film reaches its climax, Ginny and Jack’s relationship continues to grow, and so do the baby swans they help the father swan take care of.
Not only is the story very good, but the scenery is gorgeous. The film was shot in the countryside of Alberta, Canada, adding to the beauty of the set. My favorite character of them all definitely has to be Jason Lee’s Jack, because all he wants to do is to be a good father and set a good example for his children, especially since he is now a widow. Overall, The film is a fantastic throwback to the Hallmark Hall of Fame movies of old, and not only is it a fantastic movie for family viewing, but it’s also a great film for people who long for a time when movies like this dominated the mainstream. Plus, at a time when TV executives are insulting Middle America with their elitist attitude (which I will have an article about real soon), there is at least one channel (and TV show) that knows what their audiences want. I definitely recommend watching Away & Back. You won’t regret it.