Are you a love warrior? Turns out, I am!
Her joyful enthusiasm carries the audience along on a journey of romance and creative self-exploration
Hallmark movies might be cheesy and predictable, but they’re the kind of films that help people escape their lives, and during the pandemic that was especially useful. Eloise Coopersmith used that time to write a musical for herself in a particularly unique way, with a cast of characters that didn’t need to be present to help tell her story. My (Unauthorized) Hallmark Movie Musical is a multimedia experience, where only Coopersmith is in the room and the rest of the cast are projected onto screens behind her.
Coopersmith plays a woman who has decided to write her own Hallmark movie. Throughout the show, her script comes to life on the projector and TV screens around the stage, leading to some interesting interactions between the writer and her characters. At one point the real-life Coopersmith hands a glass of wine to her on-screen lead actress, an example of how practically seamless this production is considering 90% of the cast recorded their part months ago in a different country.
The storyline of the Hallmark musical is not as stereotypical as you might expect – there’s no business woman who has to run a bakery in a small town, where she slowly discovers there’s more to life than the stock market, while also falling in love with a single father who’s precocious daughter loves cupcakes – but the references to classic romance tropes are very enjoyable. From suspiciously empty coffee cups to lingering glances and misunderstandings that lead to classic hijinx, Coopersmith’s commentary and self-awareness make every cheesy moment that much sweeter — just like the chocolate Celebrations she hands out to the audience during a particularly romantic scene.
If we give one star to Nina Herzog for her picture-perfect portrayal of the on-screen female lead, Emma, and her uplifting Disney Princess singing voice, we have to give the other two stars to Coopersmith herself. From the first minute of the show, her joyful enthusiasm carries the audience along on a journey of romance and creative self-exploration. Her performance is so earnest and genuine that it’s hard to witness the emotional struggles along the way without wanting to give her a hug.
The songs themselves are not groundbreaking, and sometimes rely more on rhyming than imparting a clear message, but they definitely do the job and are catchy in a way that you could imagine being part of a real Hallmark musicals. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t humming a couple of them on the way home! The duet between the two male leads is also worth a mention as a rare chance for the writer to highlight the pressure put on men to be ‘manly’ and never admit weakness.
Fans of Hallmark movies and cheesy Netflix romances will enjoy all the classic tropes, interrupted kisses, and spot-on costume choices – the three best friends wear denim jackets of varying whitewashed blue. There was a lot of warmth between the audience and lead performer, and at the end we walked out wearing light-up badges with ‘Love Warriors’ emblazoned on the front. As Coopersmith herself would say: “cheesy”!