Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Film Night: Harlequin's "The Awakening"

This month on The Pink Heart Society, Silhouette Desire author Maxine Sullivan reviews the 1995 Harlequin movie “The Awakening”, based on a 1993 Silhouette Special Edition by Patricia Coughlin.

When I first saw the title "The Awakening" it reminded me of a science fiction or horror movie. :) I'd forgotten that obscure book titles were the rage until a few years ago, and why editors and readers alike prefer more specific titles these days. It really should have been called "The Bounty Hunter and Ms. Predictable Take a Ride", which gives a bit more of an idea of what the story is actually about as this is one of the more lighthearted of the Harlequin movies. It has comedy with a splash of slapstick, a mystery with the hint of danger, and romance with a touch of love.

Sara: “Let me go.”

Flynn: “I’d love to, but you’re the one who’s got the grip on me.”

Sara is a responsible, hardworking young woman who is dying of acute responsibility. She had been dumped by her boyfriend who is now married to someone else and trying to foreclose on her boarding house, so she isn’t about to take risks when a handsome bounty hunter by the name of Flynn comes into her life and turns it upside down. Yet somehow Sara teams up with Flynn to track one of her missing tenants, a convicted antiquities smuggler. Their adventure leads them to pose as archaeologists, art collectors and husband and wife. Along the way, Sara fully discovers herself.

Cynthia Geary (you’ll probably remember her from Northern Exposure) plays Sara MacAlister, a fresh-faced, girl-next-door type who lives in a small New England town. Despite being level-headed, Sara is ready to dip her toes in the water when she meets Flynn, but soon gets in above her head and suddenly she's swimming against the tide. It was easy to see that Sara would fall hard for him.

Flynn is played by David Beecroft, a gorgeous hunk of a man whose cockiness and fear of commitment is only surpassed by his good looks. :) He eventually talks to Sara about his past and that gives some insight into this man who has no need for any woman with a house and a white picket fence. I did find it a little strange that a bounty hunter had a fear of flying but that did endear him to me and made him seem less confident and even vulnerable.

Opposites attract and this was the case with Sara and Flynn. I didn’t feel a lot of chemistry between them at first but the sexual tension and the pace picks up when Flynn whisks Sara away to Florida where they do some playacting that leads them to find her missing tenant.

Flynn to Sara when they are sitting in his car staking out some premises: “Spread your legs.”

Sara: “In your dreams.”

Giving her a look, he reaches down between her legs and pulls a bottle of champagne from under her car seat.

I think what I liked most of all was Sara’s self-growth in this movie, with the romance surprisingly taking a backseat to that. I really liked the way she slowly developed into her own person but kept true to herself. At the end she had made a new life for herself not by going out into the world and searching for adventure, but by finding her adventure where she was most happy – in her own small town. So, what started out as a romantic comedy ended more a drama and that’s when I realized the title "The Awakening" truly did suit the movie after all.

I enjoyed this movie and would give it 7 out of 10 on the Harlequin movie Richter scale.

Maxine’s latest Silhouette Desire, The CEO Takes a Wife, is now on the shelves in the US and will be available in Australia and New Zealand in August. Details are available on her website


  1. I really enjoyed this movie too.
    I found Sara quite witty and I so wanted her to get her man at the end! It was touch and go for a while but when they did get it together it was very believable. Just like something that might happen on your own neighbourhood.
    One scene that had me in stitches was when Sara's hairdresser friend is at her house with her, helping Sara to dress for her date with Flynn.
    When her friend opens the front door to Flynn she is so literally gobsmacked by his good luck that she offers her hand and introduces herself as Sara. Immediately she is mortified and says 'No, I'm not Sara. She's upstairs getting ready'. It was so funny I watched that scene a couple of times.
    Good choice,


  2. Sorry, meant good looks, not good luck!!!!

  3. Aideen, yes, I liked that scene too. And it was interesting that the best friend then decided Flynn was not the best choice for Sara after all. It was funny where she told Sara to take off the belt of her dress, whereas before she had encouraged her to put it on to make her look a bit sophisticated.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the movie.