This movie was straightforward and sweet as most of these Hallmark movies are, but this particular movie's cardinal sin was that its two leads had shaky chemistry at best. The premise is charming--two past loves find themselves reunited when they both inherit half of a house that they have different intentions with, and are forced to work together as they attempt to sell the house--but the characters do a weak job at selling it, especially Amanda Schull as Lucy, who lacks relatability and a connection with the audience. Her character is even introduced to us as someone who is telling a group of children all about how she spent her summers growing up in a luxurious mansion, which immediately gives her the air of a spoiled snob--not a great first impression to give.
This impression is hardly alleviated as the movie goes on as we're familiarized with Lucy's gorgeous London accomodations and later on, the very mansion she's inherited half of from her aunt. In general, the premise "two people squabble over what to do with a massive mansion" does not evoke sympathy in its audience, yet at no point does the movie fight to show us how down-to-earth our protagonist is. It does a better job with Duncan, Lucy's ex-boyfriend, as he is given the role of selfless caretaker who has sacrificed much of his time and effort in order to travel to Rhode Island (although he works in Boston) in order to help with the upkeep of the house. While Lucy demands that the house be cherished and protected, he argues that after decades of dedication, he's officially done with it. It's easier to side with him than Lucy at this point.
Afterwards, the movie sinks into its own plotholes. They manage to make enough money quickly selling off a few antiques to renovate the house, yet they are still extremely dependant on the investing of a billionare in order to fix the majority of the house's internal problems. They propose a plan in which half the town uses the house as selling grounds, and although they would have plenty more antiques to sell off for cash, they still require the billionaire's investment, and without it, are completely without a hope. In the midst of all this, Lucy and Duncan have a few moments in which they reconnect (consisting mostly of Duncan offering Lucy compliments here and there) and even share a short, awkward dance during a Gilded Age Ball being held in Lucy's aunt's memory. This ball would've been a fabulous opportunity to show off the newly repaired beauty of the mansion, and I wish it would have been fleshed out some more beyond the quick speech and dance that's cut off when Lucy remembers she has a presentation to give for work. It's evening in Rhode Island, yet she calls into England for a conference call, never mind that it would most likely be the middle of the night in the UK. Whoever was in charge of figuring out the logistics of time zones here must have taken a day off.
The following day, the deal with the billionaire falls through. Lucy then proceeds to overhear Duncan telling his friend that he intended to persuade Lucy of his plan of selling the mansion as a golf course, and although she already knows this, she storms off in an indignant huff. She intends to fly back to England, but Duncan manages to intercept her, and the two of them present a last-ditch offer to the billionare that he ultimately takes. One year later, we get a close-up shot of Lucy's left hand so we pick up on the fact that her and Duncan are now engaged. At no point is this fate not obvious, nor do we as the audience fear for the couple's happy ending at any point either. The suspense hardly had a chance to build before it was already over.
Better acting would've considerably elevated this film. Peter Porte does an admirable job as Duncan (he is a naturally likable face) but still, he fails to bring real emotion to his relationship with Lucy. Alongside a few annoying nuances, such as the horribly fake British accent of Lucy's coworker Josephine, this movie falls down in its rating considerably.