I absolutely love Hallmark movies. Everything I say is out of this undying, appreciative, in awe type of love. Yes, I make fun of them, but my husband and I make fun of each other all of the time, and we are annoyingly in love.
Lucy Windsor (Amanda Schull), an expat, works at a museum in London. She loves
- talking about art
- talking about history
- making me feel inferior with her knowledge of art and history.
She is being considered to take the place of her boss, Isabel (Vanessa Bell Calloway), as museum director. And she seems super excited about it. So excited that she celebrates by eating her lunch in the middle of an exhibit. Talk about a party!
After work, Lucy’s doorman hands her a parcel from the US of A.
Your Aunt Grace bequeathed you Wycliff House.
P.S. I have been trying to get ahold of you since your Aunt Grace passed away last month. I probably could’ve told you sooner, but I have never heard of the internet. Hope that’s okay, xoxo.
Growing up, Lucy spent summers with her Aunt Grace in Newtown, Rhode Island at Wycliff House. Okay, “house” is misleading. Right now, I am sitting in my house, and if Lucy were bequeathed this, she’d be like…….thanks but no thanks, Aunt Grace. No, Wycliff House ain’t no house. It is a mansion. A mansion.
Lucy tells Isabel about her new acquisition, and she’s like…that’s cool and I’m pretty jealous, but London needs you more than Rhode Island does. And, Lucy politely disagrees.
(Of course their conversation is laced with historical anecdotes, but I am, at the moment, too sleep deprived to look up random facts, so please forgive me.)
Isabel says that the trustees still must approve of her, but she understands that she needs to take care of her business in the States.
Upon arriving in Newton, Rhode Island for the first time in 10 years, Lucy is greeted by a sign with her name on it. Hiding behind it is Eleanor (Dolores Drake), a woman who works at Wycliff House. On their way to the mansion, Eleanor brings up a man named Duncan, and Lucy quickly shuts her down.
No, Lucy does not want to hear about Duncan.
For some reason?
Wycliff House is half-timbered and gigantic and really big and huge and nice looking and oh, hey, look, there’s a sheep. And the door sticks a little.
And not just a little. The door sticks so much that when Lucy finally unjams it, she falls and twirls into the arms of man!
And not just any man.
Duncan (Peter Porte) is Lucy’s childhood friend. He is
- an architect
- the son of the former caretaker of Wycliff
- convinced that he is Wycliff’s new owner.
Say what now?
They argue while wandering through the rooms and cobwebs of Wycliff, their maturity regressing back to when they last saw each other 10 years before. Mild shoutings of “it’s mine!” and “no, it’s mine!” bounce off of an out of tune piano, and art covered by sheets.
Basically, Duncan wants to sell it to Mr. Niven (Hiro Kanagawa), a billionaire, and turn it into a golf course, while Lucy wants to preserve it.
Slow your jets, kids! Maybe order an egg cream and catch up a bit!
Instead Lucy storms off to the East Wing, and Duncan tornadoes off to the West Wing, and they slam their doors.
Lucy and Duncan meet up with the lawyer who handled Aunt Grace’s will, Hannah (Anna Van Hooft). Here’s the deal:
- They both own 50% of Wycliff
- Duncan got half as a thank you for he and his family’s devotion
- Lucy got half because she’ll do what’s best for it
- Lawyer Hannah is giving me weird vibes
Lucy overhears that Hannah is who got Duncan the meeting with Niven. And we can all tell that she is in luuuuurve with him.
Lucy and Duncan agree to calmly go out to eat to catch up. The most important part of this is that Duncan orders pancakes AND waffles, which is not just impressive, it’s for some reason cool to me. Like, pretty unhealthy, but cool.
Two guys watch them eat, and talk about them. They decide to meddle because these two crazy kids need to get together and have their happily ever after.
Duncan convinces Lucy to auction off some of the estate’s art, so they can use the money for repairs. She reluctantly agrees while spouting off facts and pouting, but to be fair, I would also have a hard time getting rid of antiques. I, actually, have a hard time getting rid of almost anything. If you need proof, I still own a Season 2 American Idol themed magazine because I was in love with Ruben Studdard in the 8th grade. I understand, Lucy. I understand.
Lucy and Duncan attend Newton’s History Days, aka the nerdiest festival in Hallmark movie history. It has
- an art auction
- egg creams
- a guy penny-farthing
Lucy is so inspired that she decides that she wants to turn Wycliff into a museum. Duncan, of course, still wants to pave paradise and put up a parking lot.
To work on their pitches, they, oddly, set up offices in this HUMUNGOUS mansion 15 feet from each other. And they annoy each other and flirt, but don’t let them know that they are flirting!
Also, the townspeople–there are even more in on it now–set up a dinner to meddle in Lucy and Duncan’s lives even more. This town must be really boring.
To help out, Duncan has been visiting Wycliff every weekend for years. He doesn’t want the responsibility anymore, and wants to sell the place so he can focus on opening his own architecture firm in Boston.
This makes Lucy alter her dream for Wycliff. She’s going to compromise! Good job! Whoohooo! Way to be mature, Lucy! Instead of tearing it down, why not make Wycliff into a museum and turn the grounds into a golf course? And to throw Aunt Grace’s Gilded Age Ball! They have two days to come up with a sales pitch for Mr. Billionaire Niven the Rich.
**BONUS HISTORY LESSON**
Because Lucy is all about history, here’s a little fact in honor of her. In Indiana, there is a golf course clubhouse that used to be an Atheist Museum. The museum got chased out of town pretty quickly, soooo we’ll see how this one goes for Lucy and Duncan. As long as the only statement they make is “history is the best! but so is golf!” they’ll probably be fine.
Fast forward to a fixing up the place! montage where paint spills all over Duncan, and he shockingly doesn’t take off his shirt.
Fast forward to a dart competition where Lucy hustles Lawyer Hannah, and calls her a freshman! gives her a noogy and stuffs bees down her shirt.
Fast forward to a moment where Lucy confesses that maybe being a museum director isn’t her dream job after all. It’s too much paperwork in an office, and she wants to forever be a tour guide sharing stories.
And one final fast forward to them practicing a dance they must perform at the ball. They almost kiss! I can picture all the townsfolk peeking through a window high-fiving each other.
It is the day of Niven’s visit to Wycliff House, and #TeamDuncy is on it. Lucy’s like: bloop be doooo, lookie here, art and history and money making! Duncan’s like: historical golf art FUSION.
******Sorry, when I hear someone say fusion I forget everything said before and cannot hear anything said after******
Long story short: Niven says he’ll think about it!
You are cordially invited to Grace’s Gilded Age Ball starting…right now. I hope you are properly dressed.
Lucy glides into the room in a bedazzled pink gown and it puts the duuuhh in Duncan. Her beauty has left him speechless. In a tux and bowtie, Duncan puts the see in Lucy because he is all she can see????
Yeah, sorry about that.
#TeamDuncy dances, and start to get close, but they are interrupted by a phone call?! Lucy reaches into a POCKET in her BALLGOWN and pulls out a CELLPHONE and rushes to the KITCHEN and ANSWERS IT.
Wow, that was the wildest game of Mad Libs I have ever played.
To be fair, it is a FaceTime she had been waiting on. It is an interview with the trustees to see if they think she should replace Isabel as the museum director.
A sheep, probably Percy, pops up behind her, and it is rudely not dressed up for the ball. What, were you raised in a barn, Percy?
The next day, Niven says that he needs to pass on buying Wycliff. His heart says yes, but the numbers say no. According to him, the numbers are always right.
nah, guy, heart > numbers
Lucy half-overhears Lawyer Hannah going off on Duncan: You said you could get Lucy on board to sell! This was easy money, Duncan!!!!!!! This, of course, rattles Lucy so much that she immaturely huffs and puffs and poses dramatically by an antique portrait of a child.
Let’s wrap this up with lots of exclamation points, shall we?
- Lucy got the job!
- She’s going back to London!
- Duncan catches her at the airport!
- He loves her!
- She knows!
- He has an idea for one last pitch!
- She stays!
- They ask Niven to invest instead of buy!
- He does!
One year later, the Wycliff History Museum Golf Sheep Pasture is thriving and so is #TeamDuncy! The End!
I rate Love, Once and Always 3.5/5 which is Hot Pockets on my scale of Pockets.
- Pockets in an evening gown for your cell phone *tsk tsk*
- The small, weird, front pocket in jeans
- When a judge of a singing competition says “sometimes you sing out of pocket.”
- Polly Pocket
- The kind that makes you exclaim “It has pockets!!!!!!!!!!”
Percy the Sheep and the dart scene were enough to make me happy! I also need to go to that nerd history festival. It looked like the type of thing I’d drag my husband to while he’d politely keep his groans of boredom to himself. I also need to try an egg cream.
All in all, I now think that every Hallmark movie needs a random background sheep.
(Please tell me that I’m not the only Hallmarkie that loves Arrested Development.)
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you thought of Love, Once and Always! 🙂