A Marriage Masquerade

Dan Payne and Jennie Garth in A Time to Dance (2016)

Abby (Jennie Garth) and John (Dan Payne) were high school sweethearts, she dreamed of being a successful writer whilst he planned to be a big football star. Whilst they ended up staying together, getting married and having children Abby ended up a restaurant critic for a local newspaper whilst John ended up coaching high school football and everyone thinks they have the perfect marriage. Truth is that the romance is gone and when their daughter Nicole (Chanelle Peloso) returns home from college they plan to tell their children they are getting divorced. But before they can hold a family meeting Nicole announces she is getting married and so rather than spoil things for their daughter they decide to postpone plans to divorce till after her wedding. But maybe spending time with Nicole and being near young love will remind them about why they got married in the first place.

Let me state two things to start with; firstly "A Time to Dance" is an adaptation of Karen Kingsbury's novel which I have not read yet. And secondly "A Time to Dance" sort of reminded me of the previous year's Hallmark movie "Love, Again" as like with "A Time to Dance" it deals with a couple on the verge of separation but putting plans on hold because their daughter is getting married. Now they are not identical but they do cover some similar ground which means that if you have watched "Love, Again" you will end up comparing the two movies.

Now "A Time to Dance" has various little things going on which make a full movie if still a familiar one. The main one is of course Abby and John forced to think about their younger days as they deal with the youthful love of their daughter and at the same time it embraces that old theme of not achieving those career aspirations you had when you were young and carefree. But on top of this we also have some drama as someone close to Abby and John almost dies and they remind the two of them that time with loved ones is precious. And there is more because there is also a young woman who openly flirts with John and is full of life. Now I won't go in to detail but what all this really means is whist we are drawn in to all the detail of this marriage in crisis it is the will they or won't they rediscover their love for each other which keeps you watching to the end.

Now that doesn't sound like much especially as the whole marriage in crisis storyline has been done a few times before both as a TV movie and on the big screen but thanks to the casting "A Time to Dance" works. Jennie Garth and Dan Payne have a relaxed style which makes all their world weary responses and looks feel believable. And because they move around each other and interact in a natural, long time married sort of way that you actually warm to them and just want them both to find happiness.

What this all boils down to is that "A Time to Dance" doesn't cover any new ground, but works through the marriage in crisis theme in a solid and full way, drawing on the likeability of the cast to draw you in.

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