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25 Mar 2023


NextImg:Stream It or Skip It: ‘A Picture of Her’ on Hallmark, Where Tyler Hynes Creates an Unlikely Viral Sensation in Rhiannon Fish

Hallmark leaps into the spring movie season with A Picture of Her, a new romance starring Tyler Hynes (Three Wise Men and a Baby) and Rhiannon Fish (A Splash of Love). A Tyler Hynes movie outside of the holiday season? That’s as refreshing as the first day of spring! But is A Picture of Her worth framing and hanging up, or is this the kind of photo you quickly delete and forget?

The Gist: Rhiannon Fish plays Beth, a woman who’s moved back to Washington to help out her dad (Robert Wisden) on his fishing boat. But when her Aunt Dody (Samantha Ferris) breaks her leg, Beth volunteers to help her out while she recovers. There’s only one catch: Aunt Dody lives in Los Angeles and Beth just went through a pretty spectacular breakup in and with LA. Whatever — her aunt needs help!

Tyler Hynes plays Jake, an LA “photojournalist” who mostly just takes pics of celebs doing things like cheating or stealing and sells them to his friend Candace (Alison Araya), an editor at a local periodical. Jake was once a promising photographer, but those dreams were dashed when only his mom bought copies of his book.

Photo: Hallmark/Allister Foster

While on a non-scummy assignment taking photos of a farmer’s market for a “springtime in the city” feature, Jake finds a stranger, Beth, in the crosshairs of his camera — and he snaps some photos of her. Jake is totally taken with this stranger’s natural beauty, but like, he’s not going to actually submit those photos to the paper. Except… he does, without knowing. Jake also keeps the fact that he saw Beth at the farmer’s market and totally gave her a secret photo session a secret when he bumps into her at the dog park. The two hit it off — and Jake even impresses Aunt Dody!

Then Beth’s entire low-key life in LA is turned upside down when she ends up on the cover of this widely circulated local paper. In fact, this beautiful photo goes viral! Will Beth ever find out that it was Jake who snapped the photo before they even met? And will she be okay with him just… keeping the fact that he’s essentially a reluctant but practicing member of the paparazzi a secret?

What Movies Will It Remind You Of?: What’s a romance where one of the people hides their real job from the other one? That. It’ll remind you of that one, but if it was made by Hallmark for Hallmark.

Performance Worth Watching: I loved every scene with Robert Wisden as Beth’s adorable dad, a man with a never-ending arsenal of terrible nautical puns. Crazy that he’s so lovable, too, considering that the role I know Wisden for is as telepathic contract killer Robert Patrick “Pusher” Modell in two episodes of The X-Files.

A Picture of Her - Robert Wisden
Photo: Hallmark/Allister Foster

Memorable Dialogue: While pretending to take Beth’s photo as if she were on a red carpet, Jake asks, “Whose collection is that?” Beth’s reply: “This is from my house.”

Our Take: I could spend this entire section just talking about the marvel that is Tyler Hynes. He just manages to bring such a casual and cool vibe to every movie he’s in and every role he plays. That should be impossible to do, considering that Hallmark movies are meticulously comforting by design. Any attempt to seem at all modern, or at all of our world should feel out of place — like a Pixies song in a playlist full of Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. But Hynes routinely plays characters that are salty and disaffected — and not just by Hallmark standards. He brings a real grit to Hallmark movies, and it never feels out of place. Like, in A Picture of Her, he plays a leather-wearing motorcycle hunk who’s artistic ambitions have morphed into the moral malaise he feels over being a paparazzo. It’s real and it works, and I really struggle to think of any other Hallmark leading man who can pull this off.

A Picture of Her - Tyler Hynes
Photo: Hallmark/Allister Foster

Thankfully, I have as much praise to hand over to co-lead Rhiannon Fish. She easily matches Hynes’s natural energy, playing Beth as girl-next-door who’s a little bit awkward and a little bit (unintentionally) cool. Really, Fish actually reminded me a lot of Kat Dennings’ Marvel character Darcy Lewis, just with all of the snark replaced by sincerity. This is a Hallmark movie with two leads that actually feel cool and modern, and their chemistry is endlessly watchable. Why Fish hasn’t become a mainstay of Hallmark’s holiday lineup is a real mystery to me. Promote her to the major leagues, Hallmark.

It’s fortunate that Hynes and Fish bring such life to the movie, because the plot has some problems. A Picture of Her feels like two Hallmark movies that have been stitched together, and the switch that occurs when a picture of Beth winds up on that newspaper cover is a bit jarring. The first half of the movie feels like it’s about a small town girl falling for a guy who’s used to stalking celebrities for his job, and it’s become so second nature that he doesn’t see how Googling every detail of the girl you just met and her aunt could come across as invasive. This is a real subplot at first, as Jake keeps knowing things that maybe he shouldn’t know yet — and then it’s dropped.

A Picture of Her - Samantah Ferris and Rhiannon Fish
Photo: Hallmark/Allister Foster

Suddenly the movie becomes about Beth’s sudden viral fame as “the flower girl,” which is one of those good ol’ out-of-touch Hallmark plot contrivances. People in Los Angeles treat seeing actual movie stars as if it’s nothing, so it’s wild to see these Los Angelinos immediately freak out over seeing a woman who’s on the cover of a local periodical. To be fair, though, the photo is gorgeous. This shift, as Beth starts to wonder if she wants the fame that goes along with virality, has very little to do with the first half of the movie. Still, this new plot gives us Gavin Langelo’s turn as Beth’s incredibly green agent, and that’s worth a few good laughs.

But as mentioned, Hynes and Fish are so enjoyable as leads and the supporting cast is so much fun that you kind of shrug at the sudden shift and go along with it. They’re a winning pair and you have to wonder what they could do with a movie that sticks the landing. That’s what I want for Christmas, Hallmark!

Our Call: STREAM IT. A Picture of Her is worth watching for Tyler Hynes and Rhiannon Fish alone.