‘Midnight at the Magnolia’: Netflix New Year’s Movie Review – QC Approved
While Midnight at the Magnolia isn’t a Netflix original, it looks like Netflix is the sole distributor. It’s a TV-G-rated rom-com, so it basically Hallmark certified.
Original Release: Nov. 5, 2020
Original Network: Netflix
Actors: Natalie Hall, Evan Williams
Director: Max McGuire
Writer(s): Carley Smale
Where to Watch: Netflix
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Midnight at the Magnolia Plot
“Longtime friends and local radio hosts Maggie and Jack fake it as a couple for their families and listeners in hopes of getting their show syndicated.”
I’ve always been on the fence about Natalie Hall since seeing her in The Seven Year Hitch on Hallmark. It was a weird movie to say the least. I then saw her again recently in You’re Bacon Me Crazy, and she wasn’t much better, but I didn’t like the overall movie either. There was also A Very Charming Christmas Town, which was slightly overacted. However, I now realize that while she may not be Meryl Streep, she’s actually a personable and genuine actress, she just can’t elevate poor scripts. For one, the makeup artists didn’t cake on eye makeup on such a youthful actress, so that is already an improvement. Two, she’s not forced to contort her face in weird ways to express emotion. She seems very natural and at ease in this movie. So hooray for a decent script and director!
Maggie and Jack’s friendship is adorable. At the start, it really seems like they are just really good, platonic best friends. It’s believable. The lead actors’ chemistry is strong. I think Hallmark’s problem is that they always tried to age up Natalie Hall instead of adjusting the character to be younger or casting someone else. This movie worked because the banter was natural and the acting was genuine.
This is actually a romantic-comedy. A lot of romantic TV movies (like Hallmark), while enjoyable, miss the comedy bit, so this is a welcome surprise.
The pacing is a bit off. The movie starts off strong, but then it gets derailed a bit halfway through. Along with the pacing, we lose a bit of that comedy.
I also can’t decide if my annoyance with Jack stems from his character being well-written as immature, or if it’s because of bad writing. The falling out between the two characters irks me, but not in the way that fuels the story. I actually didn’t feel anything for Jack at all when he saw Maggie and her ex-boyfriend at the coffee shop. He freaking brings Bianca to the party! We know they came as friends, but seeing as how the past 24 hours have been a disaster for him, Jack could stand to be a bit more sensitive to Maggie’s feelings.
Midnight at the Magnolia Rating: 47
TV Movie Ratings
60 & Over
Something truly special
Pretty darn enjoyable
Good enough to at least watch once
Pass on it
It’s enjoyable for a TV movie and earns a QC Approved rating. While I wish that the second half of the movie matched up to the first half, the acting got me through. Honestly, if a sleazier guy were cast, I probably would have completely written off Jack, and I wouldn’t be recommending this movie to anyone. However, the actor saves a pretty hopeless character. Part of me wishes Maggie ended up with someone better…oops.