WinterFest

Love on Iceland

I asked everyone I knew if this title is strange. Everyone agreed that it was. I can’t figure out why it’s “Love ON Iceland” instead of “Love IN Iceland”. Ultimately, the premise includes a podcast about couples sharing their stories so I wonder if it is supposed to be a pun? But let me tell you, it DOES NOT work. It just sounds incorrect. Maybe an Icelandic person came up with it and their English wasn’t great but no one wanted to correct them and hurt their feelings? I don’t know. But here we are. Love ON Iceland premiered on January 18 on the Hallmark Channel. Let’s dive in.

Our Lead, Chloe, works for the radio…no a podcast station and stands outside the recording booth listening to an interview. The interviewee is a musician of some sort. They are having a personal conversation. The interviewee says she recently went to Iceland to get some perspective and it just changed her whole life. Well that is interesting, thinks Chloe.

After that, she has a meeting with her boss. He has hipster white/gray hair.

Later, Chloe has lunch with her friend, Isabella. An old photo pops up of them with their friend group from college. They reminisce about taking the best trips in college. With what money? Seriously, how were they traveling every spring break and summer all over the world DURING College? Come on Hallmark. Have them all meet during their study abroad semester or something. Chloe and Isabella decide they should get the gang back together to take a trip somewhere. Presumably, it’s January, so Isabella wants to go somewhere warm. Chloe is like, no, we should go to Iceland! Where it’s dark almost all day long right now. Isabella is like, yeah cool. That sounds fun I guess.

A travel photographer, Charlie, gives a presentation or is teaching a class. At the end, in a room full of allegedly serious photography students, he gets asked what his favorite social media filter is. He seems to suggest he doesn’t edit any of his photos which just can’t be true. But maybe nature photography is different.

We see Chloe booking her flight for like, the next day? Nothing like just being able to immediately drop thousands of dollars on impulse for a trip. Then, Chloe and Isabella arrive in(on?) Iceland. The whole gang made it! Everyone can just drop everything and take a super expensive trip! Neat.

In real life, what would have happened is that this group would have passively debated where and when they should go and for how long, and six months later they would finally be somewhere within driving distance of all of them. But here they all are, ON Iceland miraculously, just days after coming up with the idea.

It looks like their other pal, Kenneth, got married in the last ten years. Ken says they’re just waiting on the tour guide. Chloe is like, wait what? I planne this entire trip and have this detailed itinerary. What are you talking about? Ken is like, no we thought this would be better. We planned something TOTALLY different so you can just relax on this trip. So they booked an all inclusive guide without telling her and without coordinating or making sure people were cool with that expense. But maybe Kenneth and his wife are covering that whole part? But, okay. So Chloe planned the whole week also. Presumably that means she made reservations and got tickets to things. So…the work is already done. It’s planned so she would have been able to relax anyway because now it’s just executing. But now that effort is wasted. And now, instead of completely losing it on these people like I would have, Chloe is like oh, okay. I guess that’s fine then. Then the tour guide arrives to pick them up. Is he taking them to the place Chloe booked or to some other place? SO MUCH WASTED MONEY.

On the ride to their hotel/chalet, Chloe overshares with the tour guide.

They stay at a massive house in the middle of nowhere. When they arrive, Chloe hands the tour guide a very detailed itinerary and hopes there is time to see everything she wants to see. This actually makes me so sad for her. She worked so hard to plan a nice trip with her friends and they just blow the whole thing up without telling her. She hopes there is a way to squeeze in some of the stuff she arranged. Now, look, as I said, I think this is a truly terrible thing her friends did. But wouldn’t the things the tour guide would do with them presumably line up with what she wants to see? It would be truly insane if Ken and his wife had worked out a COMPLETELY different itinerary from what Chloe put together. How did they not talk about what they wanted to do? Oh probably because they flew out like the day after they decided to leave.

They are greeted by their Icelandic hosts and have some lovely almond cake inside. The house is so lovely and that almond cake looks wonderful. Then, Charlie, the travel photographer from earlier, arrives and it is SOO AWKWARD. He’s like, I’m sorry I’m late! And Chloe is like, wait why are you here? And Ken, who seems to be both a colossal idiot and THE WORST human, is like, I thought you said the whole gang? So I invited Charlie without telling you…And again, made a bunch of other decisions FOR THE GROUP without telling anyone. Good thing they booked a house that had enough room.

Later, Charlie and Chloe talk outside and Chloe reiterates how surprised she is that he is there. Johann, the tour guide arrives with Chloe’s phone. They are going somewhere in the middle of the night?!! Ooh they are going to a hot springs.

In the locker room, Chloe gives Kenneth’s wife the backstory of her three year relationship with Charlie. Isabella helps. Then Kenneth and Charlie walk around the hot springs in their bathrobes and chat about Charlie and Chloe’s break up.

They hang in the hot springs. For some reason Johann is there too? Would a tour guide be like, recreating with them? I guess? It seems a little weird. Isabella is extremely brave and holds her phone whilst in the water. Somehow they get to reminiscing and it comes out that Chloe had at one time purchased Charlie a compass so he wouldn’t get lost. They ask if he still has it and he’s like oh um probably somewhere. They keep track of how long it takes for Charlie to wander away from the group. 22 minutes! Charlie invites Chloe to have some hot chocolate.

Later, Chloe and Charlie talk in their bathrobes. They catch up on their lives currently. Then he asks why she chose Iceland in the winter for a vacation. She’s like oh I came up with the idea after listening to a little thing called a podcast. This is literally right after she tells Charlie that she works at a podcast company. So I don’t really get it. He is surprised she isn’t at the same job she was when they broke up. Charlie shares that he didn’t want to miss the gang getting back together. That’s nice I suppose.

Back at the chalet, Charlie surprisingly has his own room even though Chloe booked the place without realizing they would need space to accomodate him. He pulls out the compass she bought him. Apparently he brings it everywhere.

The next morning, Chloe turns into Belle from Beauty and the Beast and starts singing and dancing around in the library of the chalet. She just wants adventure in the great, wide somewhere. She wants it more than she can tell. Later, she reads outside IN THE WINTER IN(ON?) ICELAND. Charlie comes strolling up. They are both dressed inappropriately for the weather. Chloe has a cute cape situation and cute pink beanie though.

Their Icelandic host approaches. She serves them a lovely Scandinavian breakfast. And she serves them Icelandic yogurt. Chloe pretends like she’s never had it even though Siggi’s is ALL OVER THE GROCERY STORES. Then the hosts share the story about how they met. They are a cute little pair. The hostess notices that Chloe found a book on Norse mythology in the library. She tells Chloe to keep it. Just like in Beauty and the Beast! Daring Sword fights, a prince in disguise! Maybe.

Oh geez, they are all eating on wooden cutting boards instead of plates. Then Chloe says that she made all their beds. What in the world? What an incredible invasion of everyone’s privacy? But no one minds. I guess they’re friends like that after not speaking for ten years. And then she’s like we need to get moving. And they were like what about the tour guide? And Chloe is like well I made some tweaks to the itinerary. And idiot Kenneth is like, we hired this tour guide so you wouldn’t have to plan anything. And Chloe is like, you idiot, the planning work was ALREADY DONE and I would be losing all my deposits you ungrateful bumblebees! So they load up and go see a waterfall. Chloe wears a different coat and hat than the one she wore earlier. Then, they TAKE A HELICOPTER to some caves. I cannot imagine what a private tour vacation like this would cost, especially on such short notice. And then Charlie wanders off again.

Chloe finds him. He wants to wander down a path IN A CAVE that’s not on the map. Is he also an idiot? Chloe is like, no we have to stick to the designated route! And he’s like nah, come on. So she agrees, and then the cave falls in on them because there was a reason this path was not on the designated route. Just kidding. No one seems to care that they’re both gone and they have a nice moment together and don’t die and no one learns any lessons. Chloe walks off towards the group and Charlie creepily stares at her for too long.

Later, Charlie and Chloe both grab for the last piece of Kringle. Isabella walks in and snags it. Kenneth and his wife wander in with their arms loaded up. They decide to play a game. They convince Johann to join. They play Pictionary. Where did they get that easel? Johann seems to be getting too cozy with Chloe for Charlie’s liking. Charlie demonstrates that he’s truly terrible at this game. Isabella is also terrible. She guesses too much. This pair is married in real life. Isn’t that a treat? Chloe explains Pictionary to Johann because they don’t have that in Iceland? Oh they have a very fancy timer too.

The next day, Chloe reads her mythology book in super cute Scandinavian jammies. Today seems to be turtleneck day for the group. Charlie wants to disrupt the WHOLE SCHEDULE. Chloe has the WORST friends. Charlie apparently “heard some locals” talk about a sea village on the coast? And poor Chloe gets outvoted. Chloe wears a different coat and hat. On the drive to the sea village, Isabella sees horses and wants to stop to take a picture. This stupidity causes them to drive over a rock and rip a hole in the tire. Isabella doesn’t seem to care. She’s immediately outside snapping pics. They all feel bad for leaving Johann by himself to fix the tire. He’s like, you guys. I live here so I don’t care about seeing the sea village? I’m getting paid either way? Chloe first volunteers Charlie but he’s like no I don’t want to change a tire on my vacation. Have the servant do it. Finally, Isabella agrees to stay behind to help Johann while the gang gets on a bus to the village. I can’t believe the dudes in this group were not even offering to help. Sure Isabella, you stay behind to “help” change a tire and miss out on a day of sight seeing on this trip you paid for.

The rest of the team misses the bus and the next one doesn’t come for 2 hours. MIRACULOUSLY, there is a ferry in this middle of nowhere they can take instead. Kenneth and his wife want to do some shopping. Kenneth says “we didn’t bring enough carry on” like, singular. Also, maybe if they hadn’t packed a different coat for each day they would have room.

Chloe and Charlie decide to go into a museum. Charlie is all in on it because it’s about Vikings. Chloe sees a goblet she’s been reading about in her book. This goblet apparently gave Odin the gift of poetry to woo his wife. Boy, that is a disappointing power. Then Chloe comes up with an idea for a podcast; hearing about other people’s love stories. Okay, I’d probably listen to that.

Later, Charlie and Chloe go to a bar and talk about the format of her podcast idea. They talk about a significant moment in their relationship. Charlie’s phone buzzes. Chloe asks where he’s off to next. Probably Tokyo and then Morocco he says. Then Charlie says “the next photo” he takes is his favorite one. Chloe gets a little judgey. Then Charlie says he got offered a job teaching in Chicago. Yes, he’ll be teaching how to decide which Instagram filters to use. Then Chloe comments that she loves the Icelandic song playing in the bar. So OF COURSE, Charlie asks her to dance. WHY. WHY. WHY. I would be so happy if this trope would be eliminated from these movies. Luckily for them, other people join in.

After the song, Chloe and Charlie introduce themselves to the musicians. Chloe offers to buy them hot chocolate to hear about their story. They’re like, we’re in a pub. It is a nice but boring story. Back on the ferry home, Kenneth and his wife have managed to fall asleep outside on the top deck. Charlie tells Chloe that she should host the podcast. Chloe is like, who? Little ol me?

Back at home, Isabella and Johann say they had a lovely day too. Is Kenneth just drunk all day? He bought a Viking hat for himself. To make up for getting a flat tire that was actually Isabella’s fault, Johann booked them a night at the Bubble hotel, where you sleep in a clear dome to see the stars/northern lights. It looks AWESOME. But who’s paying for it? Did he just commit all of them to drop an extra $500 or is his tour company absorbing the cost?

At the Bubble Hotel, Charlie gets a call about Tokyo. If he accepts the job, he’d have to leave his vacation early. He needs more time to think though! No time. He has to leave in three days. Why are these things always so last minute? His boss is like, dude you’re just on vacation. It’s not like I’m asking you to fly out on Christmas Eve? For heaven’s sake? Charlie looks through the photos on his phone. He gets Chloe’s attention while she’s in her bubble pod and writes her a note on a notebook. He writes something else down but decides not to show her. Cool. Definitely won’t be up all night thinking about that! Thanks Charlie!

The next day, they head back to the house. Chloe has another beanie on. Chloe’s boss calls and is so stoked about her idea. Her boss shoots down the idea of her hosting the podcast. Also, her boss’s name is Rick Rackett. And the company is called “Racket Podcast”. Shouldn’t it be plural? Did non English speaking people do all of the set decor and scripts. Oh, Okay. Kenneth is definitely just drunk 24/7. He starts yodeling. Chloe comes back outside wearing a different coat. That makes 3 total so far.

Charlie has an idea for her to do some work instead of going on a tour they likely paid for already. She’s like cool! I LOVE wasting money. Check out how many coats I packed! They head out.

Charlie tells Chloe they are going to interview this couple that lives near a lighthouse. I think the hostess of their house told him about them? They were featured in the paper for their 30th wedding anniversary.

They interview the couple and seem to have all the equipment they need to record it! They have a nice little story.

After the interview, Charlie and Chloe each get relationship advice from the couple. Next, they interview another couple on a boat. Then they seem to just accost people in the streets to interview them.


Then they walk along a random strip of a barrier wall on the ocean? Or a jetty? For no reason at all and Charlie films her the entire time. He asks her a question he probably didn’t want on film. He asks if she has ever met someone that she feels like she could be with forever and she hints that he was probably it but it didn’t work out and well we all felt awkward.

That night, Chloe gabs with Kenneth’s wife. They are sitting outside with only candles to warm them. Johann comes outside to talk to Chloe. The rest of the gang apparently spent the day at the nature reserve. Johann invites her to run down to City Hall with him tomorrow. It very much seems like he’s asking her on a date.

Later, Chloe and Isabella walk along the water. Chloe wears her FOURTH coat of the movie. Isabella is noticeably bummed that Johann asked Chloe to hang out but is trying her VERY BEST to keep cool and casual. And she is doing a terrible job at that by the way. A normal friend; not even a GOOD friend, would notice that Isabella likes Johann. Chloe is just SO SELF ABSORBED in this moment. It is SO OBVIOUS that Isabella likes him and Chloe either doesn’t care or doesn’t notice. Both make her a truly terrible friend. Maybe this is her getting back at everyone for sabotaging the trip she planned.

Later, Chloe and Charlie share corded earbuds to listen to the first cut of their podcast ep. Not sure why they needed headphones. Charlie’s waffle knit sweater is almost too much for me to bear. Then Charlie asks Chloe for some advice about the upcoming photography gigs. He says he’s thinking about turning down the Tokyo opportunity. This surprises her. The Charlie invites her to hang out that night and take photos. Chloe is like oh shoot, I have other plans. What day is it?

Charlie wanders around snapping pics. He creepily snaps a photo of a child without her parents’ consent.

Chloe and Johann head into town and stroll along the water. Is this yet another coat for Chloe? Johann asks about where she met her friends and her job. And he shares about his own career. Johann shows her a bracelet he purchased made from lava rocks. Chloe is like oh I’m flattered but…and then Johann is like no I brought you all the way to town to show you this gift I got for Isabella. Then Johann encourages Chloe to tell Charlie how she feels.

Later, Charlie says he’s making a “midnight snack” at 9 pm. She asks to see Charlie’s photos from that evening. She loves them. WHAT DAY IS IT. Then they KISS! Oh boy. We still have 20 minutes left. And THEN his phone buzzes and the moment is all over.

The next morning, Chloe has a great teal shirt sweater situation happening. Charlie doubles down on the Scandinavian fisherman’s sweater look. In the kitchen, Kenneth is working on a really great joke for his wife actually-bringing her a massive plate of food. Then Kenneth tells him how he knew she was the one. Charlie says he doesn’t know if Chloe feels the same way about him. Hello! They just kissed.

Chloe keeps reading her book by the fire. Chloe saved Charlie a muffin. Charlie says there’s something he wants to talk to her about. But of course, then Johann shows up. Johann has a surprise cooked up for them later. But there is NOTHING planned for today. Some all inclusive tour guide! Chloe walks off. Then Chloe and Isabella sit outside by the fire. Isabella is like, what did you guys do last night!!! Trying to be SO COOL. Chloe is like oh I don’t have feelings for him. Right then Charlie tries to walk up and of course, totally misinterprets. Then Johann shows up and wants to talk to Isabella. Charlie freaks and tells his agent he wants to go to Tokyo.

Isabella and Johann have a nice moment. He gives her the bracelet he showed Chloe the night before.

Charlie is all packed up. SUCH a drama queen. He tells Chloe he decided to take the job in Tokyo. Chloe gets upset that he’s going. She thought this time was different. I honestly don’t get how Charlie doesn’t realize that she likes him? Or why doesn’t he say hey I overheard you talking to Isabella. I thought we had something this week? Am I so off? THESE GUYS.

That night, they are all out to dinner. Everyone except Charlie of course. Isabella does her best to make things awkward by bringing up Charlie. Chloe gets a call from Rick Rackett, who Hallmark keeps trying to convince us is a real name and person. He tells her that she can host the podcast! Kenneth and his wife have a weird moment. He’s like I like taking vacations with you. We should do it more often. How about when we get home, we don’t “start on things right away” and have a staycation. What in the world is he talking about? Does he mean work? Then they brainstorm for their next group vacation. They pick SUPER expensive locations. Then Kenneth, the idiot, is like and maybe Chloe’s ex boyfriend can still come?

Then they head to an island or a beach or something. Oh, Diamond Beach.

Charlie is literally about to board a bus or something? Not a plane. And rewatches a video of Chloe and decides to turn around.

The rest of the gang is lighting stuff on fire and making wishes. Is Chloe wearing ANOTHER COAT? And then they are waiting for the Northern Lights. Then Charlie shows up! They each make speeches and then KISS AGAIN. Then the Northern Lights show up in the sky. They say a few more barf inducing things and then they kiss again. And that’s it. We did it. Love ON Iceland.

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