Recap: Harvest Moon (2015)

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Well, Hallmark, I’ll give you this one. It was cute and mostly inoffensive, if I’m not counting the hideous outfits you put on poor Jesse Hutch.

Jessy Schram (a total “hey, it’s that girl!” actress) is our plucky protagonist, Jennifer Stone, which is a name so boring I’ve already forgotten it. She’s a spoiled city princess whose biggest daily decision is where she’s going to have lunch. Also, she loves terrible shoes.

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On a shopping spree with her bestie, Brooke, her world comes crashing down: her credit cards are declined. Impossible! But totally possible, because when she gets home to her weirdly steampunk-y condo, her super tanned dad delivers the news: they’re broke and he’s filing for bankruptcy. She’s devastated to discover that her trust fund is also bone dry. Dude, your dad kind of sucks with money. At no point does he or his lawyer suggest SELLING THEIR CRAZY ASS CONDO or selling her ridiculously expensive clothes to try and salvage things. Instead, they’re like, welp, at least you still have that stupid ass pumpkin farm in your name! The land can’t be developed, so she decides to go see it before trying to sell it. Her dad, by the way, never offers to help. He just mopes around in boating sweaters and seems just vaguely sad for her? Ugh.

Upon hearing the news, Brooke kind of seems like she’s gonna ghost Jen because she’s instantly poor. Instead, she offers to pay for lunch and manicures so she can feel better about her shitty situation. I love Brooke.

Jen arrives in the small town, wandering into the local diner to inquire about the farm, and is met with such hostility from a waitress that, in any other movie, I’d be yelling at the TV that Jen’s in danger from a deadly small town secret! Instead, this girl’s just got a huge chip on her shoulder because Jen’s from the city??? Not helping: Jen declaring she doesn’t “do” carbs. This is the reaction she gets.

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Pictured: rude-ass waitress and lots of “country” clothes

Finally, Jen shows up at the Jarrett Farm. Unable to find the homeowner, she goes around back and is promptly knocked over into a puddle by a dude stacking hay bales. She’s super indignant and stubborn about not being afraid of mud, even though her outfit cost her $2,000…

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This dude, the man of many T’s: Brett Jarrett, reluctantly offers her a change of clothes inside. In the farmhouse, she is spied on by a little girl (we’ll get to her!) and meets Aunt Rosie, the matriarch of the family. You see, Brett’s little family here consists of himself, Aunt Rosie, his younger brother Harry, and his daughter Abby. They are determined to keep the farm, even though Jen owns it. Their plan is to buy it back, even though they’ve had a bad previous year. Jen overhears them bashing city folk for just barging in and throwing their money around. She’ll be different!

Wait, wait. Let’s officially meet Brett first (Jesse Hutch). He’s like, the epitome  of sturdy Canadian handsomeness (he’s from Alberta). However, they make him wear the WORST clothes, truly not doing justice to him or all he’s got going on.

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Jen officially meets the Jarrett clan. Okay, so nobody says how old Abby’s supposed to be, but they play her as a LOT younger than the actress herself. I’m pretty sure she’s 12 in real life, but they have her drawing shitty little kid pictures and carrying around a teddy bear and calling Brett “Daddy” and just generally acting like she’s 8 or 9 instead.

Ooooh boy. EVERY SINGLE MOM IN THE MOVIE IS DEAD. Jen’s mom: dead. Brett and Harry’s mom: goner. Abby’s mom (Brett’s late wife): six feet under. Hallmark really took their dead-parent policy super seriously this year.

Jen asks Brett to take her for a little horseback tour of the property to see what she’s in for. This is how a city girl mounts a horse:

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He shows her the farm’s giant pumpkin patch, the real money maker for them. On their way back to the farmhouse, she notices a cute guest house and inquires about it, but he shuts her down and says it’s NOTHING. Dude, he could be hiding bodies in there! Anyway, he introduces her to Lou and Phil, their full-time farmhands AND a bickering married couple.

lou and phil

They give her the brush-off because she’s putting them out of a job. Everyone is so rude to Jen that I just feel bad for her. It’s not her fault that she has to sell off this farm. When Brett goes off to mend a broken section of a fence, she suggests he just buy a new one instead (…). Then he accidentally spooks her horse, so she gets bucked off and blames him for it? Incensed, she vows that she’s going to sell the farm! DO IT!

Buuuuut then we see her leaving a realtor’s office, dejected. She visits her dad (the farm is two hours outside of the city) and lies that selling should be no problem, but later  confides in Brooke that the farm is actually in debt and not worth the effort of selling. When Brooke offers to pay for makeovers to cheer her up, Jen gets a lightbulb! EXTREME MAKEOVER: PUMPKIN FARM EDITION.  She shows up at the Jarretts the next day, loaded to the hilt with shopping bags and décor for the farmhouse. I mean…you’re trying to sell the farm, not the house, but you do you, Jen.

Two stupid side stories only slightly intersect here: Harry is a shitty aspiring musician and Abby wants to be the pumpkin princess (we’ll get to that). HOWEVER, the most egregious of all plot points is that nobody mentions the majorly persistent pants problem that Brett has:

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Don’t do things to a body like this, wardrobe people.

Jen wants to work with Brett to fix up Jarrett Farms. She brings a written agreement that stipulates she’ll sell the farm, but the Jarretts (who have been on the property for like, 75 years) will remain living on the land, even with a new owner. In order to help out, she has to stay on the farm. Magnanimously, she apologizes to Brett privately for the rough start they had. They have a Moment. She is being way too nice.

Later, Brett confides in Harry that he thinks farm life will be too tough for the city girl, so she’ll bail early and try to sell unsuccessfully, at which point they’ll make an offer and buy it back.

Ooooh, that night, he’s tucking Abby in when she asks if he like likes Jen.

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He totally does, Abby, but your dad’s being a total dick.

Jen overhears this whole conversation (and gets caught eavesdropping by Aunt Rosie, who seems to sense the undercurrents of budding romance) and seems disappointed when he doesn’t answer Abby’s question.

The next morning, allegedly 5 a.m. (which it is clearly not because the sun is already up), the cry of a rooster scares and baffles the shit out of Jen, sending her headlong into Brett’s kinda hot arms.

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Oh my god, am I into Brett?

Ugh, NOT ANYMORE. He gives Jen completely useless and shitty farm tasks just to fuck with her, which is super rude because she OWNS THE LAND YOU’RE TRYING TO SAVE, DUDE. Jen saves face and takes it all on the chin, eternally peppy and positive, even when she comes into the house, dirty and sunburnt. Abby helpfully takes her to that mystery guest house, which was just her grandma’s chill-out space from her family, and offers some of grandma’s pumpkin cream, a homemade recipe that does the trick. She finds a “Harvest Moon scrapbook,” which has photos from the Jarrett Farm’s first harvest of the season dance/party (which had a Pumpkin Princess, aka Abby rode on a tractor and wore a tiara). They haven’t had one since business slowed and all the damn moms died.

Aunt Rosie gives Jen a pair of proper farm boots and lots of dirt on the family: the pumpkin cream recipe is top secret, hidden somewhere in the guest house (nobody’s been able to find it). And apparently it was a car accident that took Grandma, Grandpa, and Brett’s wife Maggie all at once. Discount on the funerals though, I bet.

So, Jen and Harry go into town where she discovers that one of the (non-rude) waitresses, Valerie, has a huge crush on Harry and vice versa. But he’s too much of a little chicken shit to make a move, so when Valerie hints around about an upcoming barn dance, he shuts her down. Later, Jen is like, you’re a total idiot and you’re going to that dance with her! But Harry can’t dance.

Here’s where the movie just packs a bunch of super short scenes together:

  • Brett and Jen planting flowers (and love) together
  • Jen teaching Harry how to line dance (?!?!) and Brett wondering how the F a city girl is teaching a country boy how to line dance:

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  • Jen finding the hidden recipe for pumpkin face cream then realizing Grandma Jarrett didn’t bother to include the measurements anywhere
  • Lou realizing her husband doesn’t notice her anymore
  • Jen unsuccessfully trying numerous recipe variations to make the pumpkin face cream

AKA everyone’s falling in love with her. To ruin everything, Harry decides to basically toss her onto the tractor to go do a fence inspection, and she accidentally reverses over a bunch of violets that were on the ground. Brett runs over and LOSES HIS MIND. He tells Jen to go back to the city where she belongs!

Brett doesn’t just really love flowers though: the violets were a special love of Maggie’s, who used to cross-pollinate to find unique…shapes? IDK flower terminology. The flowers are not for sale! He gives them away in her memory (which is nice). ANYWAY, Harry is dialed in to the fact that Brett’s not just upset about the crushed violets, but rather his budding crush on Jen!

By the way, Jen has been actively trying to find that “it factor” about Jarrett Farms – the pumpkins (no), the violets (hell no), and now…nothing. She then fixes their broken porch swing, just to prove she can?

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I love this girl’s moxie and so does Abby! Brett’s begrudgingly impressed too, even though she’s literally done nothing to earn your dour prejudice except be from the city.

Late one day, he finds her fixing a fence when it suddenly downpours. They ride horseback into a barn, where they share a kiss in front of a full moon. It’s very sweet.

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More montages!

  • Lou invites all the womenfolk in town to get pumpkin facials
  • The rude waitress Hannah (Brett’s cousin, as we find out) shows up and reluctantly apologizes for being a major bitch. “City and country girls don’t always mix.” Fuck off, Hannah!
  • Jen still teaching Harry how to dance
  • Brett and Jen having adorable moments all over the place
  • Jen bonding with Abby

Hey, it’s Brooke! She’s come for a visit. Jen gives her a sample of the pumpkin cream. I was worried that Brooke would make off with the pumpkin cream and steal the formula, but then I remember Brooke’s The Best. This is how Brooke greets Brett and to be honest, I’d do the same:

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Anyway, Brooke and Jen show up at the barn dance, and Brooke is clearly out of her element being surrounded by so many fucking bolo ties.

OH MY GOD BRETT. WHO IN WARDROBE HATES YOU SO?

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No, I think this deserves a second look.

bolo

There’s a group dancing scene and it is just awful. Harry learned NOTHING (except confidence to flirt with Valerie!). Lou, freshly made over by Jen, and Phil fall in love all over again.

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BUT WAIT. Brooke, being the very best friend, overhears Hannah telling her friends that Brett’s plan was to fuck with Jen to make her quit. She rushes over and interrupts Brett’s loud shirt to tell Jen the scoop. Jen patiently gives Brett time to explain, which he does an absolutely terrible job of, so she leaves. She gets back to the farmhouse where they pack her shit quickly. Abby has the nerve to ask if Jen’s mad at her and then gives her literally the shittiest drawing ever.

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Where’s Aunt Rosie and Harry? I bet Abby’s the reason why everyone’s dead in this movie.

Aunt Rosie tells Jen to wait for an explanation from Brett. Jen asks her if she knew about his horrible plan, and when Aunt Rosie says nothing (GUILTY), Jen graciously forgives her anyway! She storms out but is stopped by Brett, who’s just shown up to stop her from leaving. He apologizes but it’s inaudible over the nightmarish screams from his shirt, so she leaves for good.

Back in the city, Jen’s about to sign everything over to the bank but Brooke rushes in with the best news: she gave the miracle pumpkin cream to some cosmetic guy at her job to determine the ingredients, but apparently they can’t recreate it because the Jarrett pumpkins have this crazy special mineral in the earth, so the CEO will offer her big bucks for the formula! Sure.

Whoa, we get fast-forwarded a YEAR! Normally, the fast-forwards only happen after the couple has swooned into one another’s arms, so this feels fresh to me. Let’s find out what happened to everyone, naturally at the Harvest Moon party (first one since everyone died basically)!

Jarrett Farms is now producer and manufacturer of Jarrett Farms Natural Body Care, an organic skincare line. Brooke’s the VP of marketing (my queen). Lou and Phil are the management directors, whatever that means. Rosie’s the VP of production, sure who cares. Harry’s the “superintendent of tech services,” but not for long because he got a music scholarship.

Jen toasts her dad, who’s ditched the boat sweaters and is now wearing a bolo tie. Then Jen toasts Brett, her co-CEO and BFF. Abby rides in, the Pumpkin Princess, on a tractor. Aunt Rosie and Jen’s dad dance (oooh). OMG, Harry sings us out and there is NO WAY this kid got a scholarship! He’s fucking brutal.

Backlit by the large harvest moon, Brett proposes to Jen in their kissin’ barn, but ruins everything by saying it’s an “old tradition in my family” to propose when they’re in love with someone. Uhh dude, that’s EVERYONE’s tradition. Whatever, he’s still cute despite the persistent pants problem.

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THE END

4 Rating

I LIKED IT, OKAY. But I still think Abby’s the killer.

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