Movie Review: The Secrets of Bella Vista (2022)

Synopsis: San Francisco art collector Tess Delaney has a shaky relationship with her mother but is following in her footsteps by traveling the world and may be in line for a big promotion. However, her world is flipped upside down when she is contacted by her father's side of the family and learns she has inherited half a California apple orchard from her recently deceased grandfather and has a half-sister, Isabel. She reluctantly visits the property and begins to connect with the family she didn't know about before learning another secret, the orchard is about to be foreclosed upon.

Who's in it? The movie stars Rachelle Lefevre, Niall Matter, Helena Marie, Donia Kash and Sarah Hayward.

Review: I came across this movie on Hallmark earlier today, while watching another show. It looked interesting so I ended up adding it to my library and my wife and I ended up watching it this evening.

The movie wasn't quite what I was expecting. I thought, from the description, it would be more of a mystery. However, it still wound up being an OK film.

The relationship between Tess (Lefevre) and Isabel (Marie) was a good one. I liked how they were completely different people but also had just enough similarities to make them believable as half-sisters. At the same time, since the orchard was having financial difficulties, Tess's distrust of the situation did make a lot of sense as well. 

I also thought the relationship between Tess and her mom (Nathalie Boltt) was intriguing. Not only was Tess doing exactly what her mom did, despite having bad memories of the latter being gone (something I thought was kind of ironic) the mother/daughter tension was very believable. In fact, there were times when I wondered if maybe her mom couldn't be trusted.

I truthfully wasn't a huge fan of the romantic subplot involving Tess and Damhnaic. It felt a little forced, in my opinion. Not to mention, given his proximity to Isabel and the fact she too was a smart, caring and attractive woman, I think the movie probably should have explained why there wasn't a romance between the two of them. I might have been able to buy him thinking of her like a sister, but that was never clarified and it kind of felt like Tess was stepping on her toes a bit as a result.

Final Opinion: It's a typical Hallmark movie that doesn't have an overly complex plot and is a bit predictable. Plus, the romance wasn't overly believable. However, it still was a halfway decent movie for a quiet afternoon watch.

My Grade: B-


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