Written by director Joan Carr-Wiggin and Savitri Gordian, Happily ever After is a story about friendship, family, and coming home. “Heather” (Janet Montgomery) had successfully escaped her small town. But when her father’s health-scare calls her back into town, Heather reflects back on all she’s missed and friendships she’s lost. (JEP: 3.5/5)
Review by Contributing Editor Jessica E. Perry
“Heather” (Janet Montgomery) is one of the “lucky ones” who escaped from her small hometown to the big city. But when she gets the call that her father “Walt” (Peter Firth) has fallen ill, she reluctantly returns home … but just for the day. Heather’s plans are derailed when “Dr. Mickelson” (Michael Therriault) insists that this time around, her hypochondriac father’s health scare is real.
While at the hospital, Heather runs into an old friend “Sarah Ann” (Sara Paxton) who is there on “routine.” At first, it appears that Sarah Ann has unrealistic delusions as to the extent of pair’s prior friendship, but it soon becomes apparent that although Heather left without warning or proper goodbyes, she cared for Sara Ann a great deal.
Heather reluctantly agrees to stay in town for her father, while eagerly awaiting any excuse to disappear again. Meanwhile, Sara Ann’s wedding is fast approaching, and seeing a chance to rebuild their friendship, she hires Heather as her wedding videographer. The two girls begin to grow close once again, reflecting back on their high school years and their romantic encounters with their attractive high school teacher “Colin” (Tom Cullen) who happens to still live around the block.
The audience never really learns what drove Heather away in the first place, but with little hints scattered throughout the narrative, we eagerly want to know. Janet Montgomery was a newcomer for me (although she has ample television credits), and her portrayal of Heather was refreshing and a standout among the cast.
Contrary to what you may have expected from the film’s title, Happily ever After is not another take on the classic Cinderella story narrative we’ve seen done a million times. The title may be a little elusive in this regard, but Happily ever After is more a story about the importance of friendship and family than one about falling in love with your prince. And although the film got a little zany in the third act, writer/director Joan Carr-Wiggin redeems herself in the end, delivering a thoroughly enjoyable film.
Happily ever After is available on VOD now!
Watch the film on digital platforms including (but not limited to): Amazon, BestBuy/CinemaNow (rovi), Blockbuster, Google Play, Hoopla, iTunes, MGO, Sony PlayStation Network, Vudu, Xbox, iNDemand, Dish Network, AT&T, VuBiquity, DirecTV.
Top Photo: Heather arrives back in town, her style at odds with those around her.
Middle Photo: Sarah Ann and Heather take a page out of their high school book and spy on Colin from the bushes.
Bottom Photo: The pair watch karaoke at Sarah Ann’s bachelorette party.
Photo Credits: Random Media
This one passes the Bechdel-Wallace Test many times over! Heather and Sarah Ann have numerous conversations together, many revolving around their broken friendship, and what life used to be like when the two were young, innocent, and great friends.