by Diana Vaccarelli
I’m the first one to admit that I love Lifetime movies, especially the cheesy ones, so I was looking forward to last week’s Lifetime premiere of EXPECTING AMISH, although not necessarily for the right reasons.
EXPECTING AMISH is the story of a young Amish girl named Hannah Yoder, played by AJ Michalka, who attends rumspringa in Los Angeles. She leaves behind her Father, Brother, Sister, and her boyfriend Samuel, played by Jean-Luc Bilodeau, to experience what the modern world has to offer for short time.
While in L.A., Hannah meets a college D.J named Josh, played by Jesse McCartney. The two immediately become inseparable. So inseparable, it seems, that upon her return home she discovers she is pregnant and has to choose between the life she knows and marriage to Samuel or reuniting with Josh in Los Angeles.
I was expecting a cheese fest of a film, with actors unable or unwilling to show real feelings, as is par for the Lifetime course, but was pleasantly surprised. This film has heart and shows genuine emotion and inner struggle. AJ Michalka plays Hannah brilliantly and shows her inner struggle to make the hardest decision of her life.
I wasn’t expecting Jesse McCartney to be good, but he was great. His portrayal of Josh was not only charming and funny but dramatic as well. In one pivotal scene he shows true dramatic talent that won me over. The chemistry between McCartney and Michalka is great and the way they play off each other well makes this relationship even that more believable.
Jean-Luc Bilodeau was under utilized in the role of Samuel. I would have liked to have seen more of the relationship between Samuel and Hannah to better emphasize her inner struggle.
Screenwriter Scott Durdan ( who co-wrote the original story with Samantha Dipippo) has written a film that isn’t typically seen on the Lifetime Network. He writes the two male leads, Josh and Samuel, so that they, to be blunt, are not the assholes they could have been. Most films produced by Lifetime have had one of the male leads be an unattractive character who makes it easy for the female lead to choose which man she loves and wants to be with at the end. But this time it’s a genuinely difficult decision.
What I enjoyed most about EXPECTING AMISH was that the heroines’s inner struggle was totally credible and affecting. And, to be honest, I also was pleased with the ending. I wanted Hannah to make a life for herself and not simply follow a family obligation, and that’s what I got.
I highly recommend this film. Just make sure you watch it with a tissue.