Although I live on the face of the sun nine months of the year and true seasonal fall is a distant memory, I do love a good fall romcom. Love, Of Course is my reigning all-time fall favorite (followed by Love on the Air) and I freely admit to rewatching them throughout the year.
Although the SAG-AFTRA strike was called on July 12th (and the WGA strike before that back in May), the production machine that is Hallmark was busy banking its 2023 “Fall into Love” titles just in case. Today, just as PSL is beginning its annual descent upon the masses, we got word of a particularly fun fall-themed entry coming our way on September 16th. Notes of Autumn plays on a musical theme with a romcom about two BFFs who swap houses and find true love. And one of those couples is an LGBTQ pairing. I KNOW.
The movie stars a quartet of familiar faces – our longtime fave Luke Macfarlane, Ashley Williams, Marcus Rosner, and Peter Porte, with Macfarlane and Williams playing the besties and Porte and Rosner playing their respective love interests.
Executive produced by Kim Arnott, Kate Gajdosik, and Debbie Gibson alongside producer Gilles Laplante, the film was written by regular Hallmarkie Rick Garman and directed by Troy Scott, who directed All Saints Christmas for the network last year (after directing several films for Lifetime and working as a second unit or assistant director on several Hallmark films).
Here’s what Bart Fisher, Vice President of Programming at Hallmark Media, had to say, “The journeys of these characters and the paths their relationships take are handled with tenderness, compassion and explored in meaningful ways. This movie celebrates the fall season in a fun, contemporary way and has something for everyone.”
And Gibson added, “I’m so thrilled to have a creative voice during such an exciting time in Hallmark Channel’s programming. This is a special story that celebrates how love can blossom in the most unexpected ways.”
Here’s the logline:
Ellie (Williams) is a fun-loving, classically trained pianist living in the city who gave up on her passion long ago. Now working for a hotel, she always seems to be getting things wrong when musical inspiration strikes. Her best friend, Leo (Macfarlane), lives in the rustic outskirts of British Columbia. He’s a famous author with writer’s block who can’t seem to finish another installment in his highly popular book series. Realizing they both need a change of scenery as the chilly days of autumn settle in, they decide to swap places, only to find themselves completely lost in new surroundings.
Ellie gets tangled up in helping Sam (Rosner), Leo’s neighbor, put together a musical performance for a local fundraiser and comes to terms with why she quit music years ago. Leo strikes up a friendship with Ellie’s good friend, Matt (Porte), and opens himself up to writing something different that really inspires him. Their newfound friendships turn into something far more meaningful, and as both Ellie and Leo take part in the joys of the autumn season, they also discover their hearts belong somewhere very different than they ever thought possible.
Why we love this
Macfarlane and Porte are both out, and have already done non-Hallmark turns in LGBTQ romcoms. Macfarlane of course co-headlined Bros and appeared in Netflix’s heartfelt and deeply silly Single All the Way. And Porte did the aces Paramount Plus romance Dashing in December, which you can stream on Prime Video, as well as a hilariously ribald turn in Netflix’s Uncoupled (which is weirdly no longer on the streamer but available several other places).
And both actors have established Hallmark careers (Macfarlane has done more than a dozen titles, most recently last year’s A Magical Christmas Village), but neither actor has had a chance to play in the LGBTQ romcom space at Hallmark. We’ll also get to see Macfarlane play cello again.
Next, house-swap stories are my jam. One of my all-time favorites is an early-days Hallmark Christmas title called Debbie Macomber’s Trading Christmas, which is still one of the best to ever do it, and Williams herself did one the Christmas before last with her real-life sister, Kimberly Williams-Paisley. The very crafty Sister Swap pair of movies even filmed select scenes from both POVs and plugged them into each sister’s story.
Birthday Wish is a regular rewatch in my house, and in it, Macfarlane and Rosner played romantic rivals for Jessy Schram’s affections. Although they didn’t share any scenes in that, and are unlikely to here, either (unless we get a group scene at the end) it’s fun to have them back in the same movie with independent love interests.
Y’all know I nerd put over six degrees-type things and there are quite a few here. Writer Rick Garman has a history with Macfarlane (A Shoes Addict’s Christmas), Williams (Christmas in Evergreen, which also co-starred Rosner), and Rosner (Valentine in the Vineyard). And he wrote one of our favorites (which we’re still waiting for a sequel for), Country at Heart. Director Scott was first assistant director on two Rosner Lifetime projects — a bananas thriller with Cindy Busby where he was the titular The Killer Downstairs, and the holiday film, Poinsettias for Christmas.
If the strikes are still ongoing next month, we won’t have cast interviews for you, but we will absolutely have a preview!
Photos courtesy of Allister Foster, Kailey Schwerman, Hallmark Media, Paramount Plus, and Netflix.
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